He was a professor at the University of Rome. One afternoon, he was returning home and took a shortcut that was a violation of traffic laws. A police officer saw him and fined him. The penalty was to be deposited at any post office, but payment could not be made and he ended up in court.
The judge inquired why he had refused to pay a fine despite being well spoken and that’s when he said he was a professor. The judge immediately stood up and said, “there is a teacher in the court”.
On hearing these words, all the people in the court, including the faculty and police officers, stood up. The judge’s style changed. He ordered a chair to be brought, apologized and cancelled the fine. The person was Ashfaq Ahmad. He describes this story in his book Zavia.
He said, “on that day I learned the secret that the honur of the nations is the honor of the teacher.”
Let’s take examples of other countries.
Finland is the leading country in Education. The total population of the country is 5.53 million, but it ranks first in terms of education ranking, while America is at number twenty. Any school in Finland has a maximum of 195 children and one teacher for 19 children. The world’s longest break also takes place in Finland’s schools.
There are only 20 hours of teaching in a week, while teachers spend two hours per day improving their skills. Being a teacher in Finland is more difficult and honorable than being a doctor and engineer. There is no school in the country for children before the age of seven and there is no any sort of test before 15 age. There is also a single test for students all over the country.
Take the example of Japan now, where children are taught morality, ethics and manners until third grade. If a teacher from another country goes to Japan, he’d probably feel like royalty. This is the secret of the development and rise of nations.
Pakistan, as in like every field, lags behind. Teachers face a lot of issues. Election-duty, polio, dengue, census, etc teachers are everywhere. I know it’s their constitutional responsibility, but is it just the teacher’s responsibility to leave the teaching process and come in the streets, be humiliated at intersections? Right now, teachers are bringing students from home to school because of poor government policies. Our teachers are left to do this job.
Let’s assume for a while that it is the duty of the teacher, but do these teachers also get the facilities and privileges they are assigned? Is the teacher’s medical free, is the teacher’s children’s education free, is the teacher’s transportation free? After serving for four decades of life, free treatment is not available. No one raises a voice for the teacher’s interest, even the teacher’s union, which brings teachers on the streets for their own benefit and interest.
This behavior towards the people grooming the next generation is unacceptable. All countries view the teachers with the highest regard but in Pakistan, the status of the teacher is not even acknowledged. Terrorists will be born in a country where the killer is given protocol and the teacher presented in court with handcuff.
It is time for the government and us all to take the role of the teacher seriously and give them the facilities to enable them to groom our next generation properly.