‘Targeted’: Why Pvt Schools Will Observe a Subdued Teachers’ Day
The teaching community asserts that the relationship between schools and parents has become merely “transactional”.
Come 5 September and Teachers’ Day celebrations across private schools in Delhi will be subdued, as the principals and teachers condemn the "aggressive attitude" towards their fraternity that has crept in of late. The teaching community asserts that schools have become "vulnerable, soft targets", in light of the many cases where principals and teachers have been arrested over "unproven allegations and false charges".
One of these incidents that has triggered the decision to observe muted celebrations was the arrest of a principal and two teachers of a private school in East Delhi in July after a class 9 girl committed suicide, with parents reportedly alleging harassment by a teacher and the school.
But it's not just the arrests. As Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road, points out, the decision to observe muted Teachers’ Day celebrations is to shed light on how the relationship between teachers and parents has been reduced to a "transactional" one.
Firstly, this movement to condemn such a transactional relationship is not just happening in Delhi, but across India. There’s an aggressive attitudes prevailing towards teachers, where they are being held responsible for everything. Everything has been placed on the doorstep of the school.Ameeta Wattal to The Quint
The problems being faced by the schools is summed up by the letter sent to the parents by the management team of a school having several branches in Delhi-NCR. Slamming "the growing sense of entitlement in parents", the letter states:
Only today, a father, was SCREAMING at an academic coordinator, a lady, because the accounts department was not responding to his mails and later, a record low was set by a father who physically assaulted our head accountant, again a lady, on a fee issue. Aggression, anger, threats and accusations are being hurled verbally, via WhatsApp and via mail at teachers and staff by one parent or another every day. Small issues such as menu, traffic snarls, emails not being received or bigger issues including fee payment or a child being mildly hurt while playing at the campus are being used to treat the school faculty as if they were criminals. The language used by parents is unacceptable. The number of such incidents is increasing everyday [sic].Letter by a prominent school in Delhi-NCR
Notices regarding observing subdued celebrations for Teachers’ Day over this issue have been sent by Springdales Education Society and the National Progressive Schools' Conference (NPSC). More than 160 senior secondary private schools come under the NPSC.
The Springdales Education Society, in its circular, has lamented that "principal and teachers have been held accountable for situations that in many instances have not been the responsibility of schools and their management."
'Dialogue Between the School and Parents is the Need of the Hour'
Asserting how the teaching community was "very troubled" by the "random" arrests of the two teachers and the principal, Sadhana Bhalla, chairperson of the NPSC and principal of the Mira Model School, tells The Quint about the need to have legislation for protection of teachers and heads of schools.
There’s a fear psychosis prevailing... Today, the relationship (between the parents and the school) has become all about the fees and the marks that students get. There’s a lack of faith and there’s no personal touch. We are reaching out to have a dialogue with the parents, the government and also the media to resolve this.Sadhana Bhalla to The Quint
Wattal concurs, saying that there is a need to do away with the 'I am paying for it' attitude among the parents that unfairly pins the responsibility on the school many times despite it not being involved.
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