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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Rendezvous with Ramesh “Maava” / Meeting my Mentor

I was meeting him after a gap of two years. There is always a feeling of expectation, excitement, suspense, happiness and a little bit of hesitation just before I meet him every time. He always provides that element of surprise, invariably in every meet. I am talking about the first Principal and Head Master I had in my educational career, Mr. Ramesh, presently the Secretary of Chaitanya Vidya Shala, Channarayapatna.

He is an exceptionally principled man, who inculcated discipline amongst us, and gave us awareness of the rights and wrongs of life, at a very young age. During school days, we were almost afraid of him, but it was a fear that came out of immense respect and admiration. He used to love his pupils and we loved him too, and fondly called him Ramesh Maava (i.e., Ramesh Uncle).

He has left an everlasting impression on me, in particular, as I always liked him the most among all the teachers I had during my initial school days. Looking back now, I treat him as my mentor. The influence he has had on me is next only to that of my immediate family members. Even today, some of my school friends tell me that I almost talk and behave like him on most occasions! It might be true too, and I am in a way happy that I have tried following the footsteps of a great man.

Coming back to my latest meeting with him, after getting to know about the recent professional and personal achievements of me and my batch mates, he went on to talk about some of the most interesting topics and burning issues faced by the society today. He always talks about the most sensible and sensitive topics, and this time, it was no different. Having dedicated his entire life to the field of education, the current state of the art in the field of education was certainly high on the agenda.

Although me and many of my batch mates are part of the ‘IT industry’ that has seen some sort of a boom in recent years in India, Mr. Ramesh did not hesitate to express concerns about the ‘economic imbalance’ that this IT boom has caused. All other professions, he says, have been adversely affected because of this, and the field of education in particular has faced serious impact.

Mr. Ramesh also said that education has suffered a lot under the circumstances, with the profession of teaching appearing not very attractive. Everyone, from every corner of the country aspires to be software professionals. Although the schools in major cities with great reputation from the past have managed to survive, the schools and colleges of smaller towns, villages, and even tier-III cities have really started to struggle of late. There are no qualified teachers, and if there are any, chances are that their quality is questionable. Teaching is an extremely responsible job. Those in the profession would be building the generation of tomorrow. They need to be proficient enough to build a good future for the country by imparting knowledge to the young citizen of India. In this context, non-availability of quality teachers at every level of education has become a serious cause for concern.

The governments too must take a large part of the blame, according to him, and because of the fact that the governments have shown callousness in projecting the teaching profession as a driving force for the country’s success, the quality of education has degraded. Today, there is no proper planning, roadmap and goal visible for a student, or for a teacher for that matter, who aspire to undertake the journey of education together, hand in hand, as depicted by our ancient saying of ‘Sahanaavavatu, Sahanau Bhunaktu…’.

The discussion went on for nearly two hours, and he gave loads of examples along the way. But, I would like to conclude it here, and hope against hope, as Mr. Ramesh himself does, that his dream education model would see the light of day someday.


Vikram Bhogiraju said...

Great post.

uDiT sH@rMa said...

Interesting as well as thoughtfull.