Representational image | Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
Representational image | Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
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Teachers have let India down.

We have all had that one great teacher who shaped our lives. Yet for every great teacher, India is full of many others who do not deserve the obeisance. Here are five reasons why Teachers’ Day should be abolished.

  1. Don’t deify teachers: Across India, Teachers’ Day is celebrated with children being forced to respect teachers as if they are incarnations of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. Such deification of our teachers, such unnecessary placement of them on a pedestal, affects our ability to question them and hold them accountable. Teachers should be judged as professionals – by their students, by their schools and by the education system. Like any other profession, there are good and bad apples in teaching too – let’s not celebrate them all. Good teachers do a great service to society, but bad teachers do a great disservice.
  2. Poor teaching quality: Teachers were the big hope of India but they have let the country down. Countless studies show how poor the quality of teaching in India is. In many schools, not just government-run but private ones too, actual teaching is altogether absent. Students don’t know how to add and subtract after many years of schooling. There are teachers who ask students to learn the steps of solving a math problem by rote! Warning of a learning crisis in India, a recent World Bank study found that only half of Class 5 students in rural India could fluently read sentences like ‘It was the month of rains’ and ‘There were black clouds in the sky’ in their local language. It’s easy to blame the lack of teacher training, the poor salaries, and the high teacher-student ratio for low learning skills among children (added a few words here). But how does a teacher’s conscience allow ruining the lives of students by knowingly not teaching them? If we don’t want to abolish Teachers’ Day, the least we should do is to turn it into a ‘Teacher Training Day’. Training may not be enough. Teachers need to be subjected to accountability. Singapore has one of the world’s best schooling systems. It pays teachers well, invests heavily in education research, and puts teachers through a rigorous annual assessment.
  3. Social equality and critical thinking: Teachers’ Day formalises the relationship of power and authority between teachers and students. Poor in their quality of teaching, and lacking interest in their jobs, India’s teachers usually see questions by students as an affront to their authority. To foster critical thinking and improve the quality of education, India’s schoolchildren need to stop fearing their teachers and feel free to ask them questions. Unfortunately, Teachers’ Day takes them in the opposite direction. Teachers are to be given tributes and respects, greeting cards and flowers. You don’t ask teachers questions, you only plead for their blessings.
  4. Sexual abuse: Forcing students to celebrate Teachers’ Day also forces them to pay respect to those teachers who abuse them physically or sexually. This is not to say all teachers do so. But some teachers do, and Teachers’ Day celebrates all teachers. The ritualistic reinforcement of the power dynamic between students and teachers that happens in schools every 5 September leads to a relationship that allows teachers to abuse and hit students and get away with it. Here are just a few examples. In Kolkata earlier this year, a teacher was arrested for allegedly sexually harassing a girl child. In the same city, a four-year-old was allegedly sexually assaulted in a toilet. In Indore, three women teachers were arrested in December 2017 for allegedly molesting a girl child.
  5. Corporal punishment: Despite being outlawed, corporal punishment continues in India’s schools. Unable to command respect except out of fear, unable to teach students and improve learning outcomes, teachers take to beating them as punishment. Unable to pay school fees? Punish the child. Not paying attention in class? The alleged caning leaves bruises all over a five-year-old’s body. Unable to recite a poem? Allegedly slapped several times. In Manipur, a Class 1 student was allegedly beaten so badly for not bringing textbooks that he ended up in a hospital.
    In Ludhiana last year, an eight-year-old died after the teacher allegedly thrashed him for stammering. Yes, most Indian parents still beat their children, but the education system is supposed to show the way.

For these grave reasons, India’s teaching profession needs introspection, not celebration.

Also read: Teachers’ Day: Professors who teach to question are the first ones to go

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44 Comments Share Your Views


  1. We come from a family of educationists. Grandfather was always affectionately called Masterji. Father started life teaching economics at Hindu College; sister taught for a while at Pratt Memorial School, Calcutta. So one would vote for a rose stem to be presented to our teachers on this day, Most of them are solidly middle class, struggle to keep the show going. They should be paid better; before they start their careers, they should also be trained better.

  2. this artcle is rubbish, the author seems that he never attended a school. in india we respect teacher as guru brahma,, more then god.whatever their draw backs, and their poor salary, teachers doing marvellous job in india. indian consumer society who worship filmstars , cricketers and politicians does not deserve teachers.

    • Very true. By the article’s logic, we should also stop celebrating Mother’s day or Father’s day as many parents, abuse their children in one way or the other, more than teachers do. Non sense article.

      • I had decided not to read the article after seeing the headline and knowing what Shivam typically rights – meaningless conclusion without any strong foundation for his arguments. Unfortunately for me, I have read it today. A weak moment for me I guess. I am teacher and I am what I am because of my teachers from a rural school to an urban school to a religion based school and college to an elite institute of the country. No teacher ever fitted Mr Vij’s description and I am not saying that we don’t have such teachers. They are not majority. A majority of teachers and Indians are good people – irrespective of what people like Vij say. Mr Vij is probably following the footsteps of our third rate politician who keeps saying that no one else has done anything good till he came in. Mr Vij probably does not know that teachers are respected ahead of politicians anywhere in the world. Even journalists are behind teachers in any global ranking. You may forgive me for saying all this, but you no business to insult a community even if you had bad teachers all your life. I am not asking you to respect teachers but let others do what they want to do. You can write to Mr Modi and ask him to abolish the teacher’s day. He may like your idea, as he also does not seem to have respect for anyone other than himself.

    • Completely agree. I am not if Shekhar Gupta and people who have funded Print have read this article. Some of them are reasonable people – who would look at the facts as they are – rather than say or write just because they have been given space to right or a chance to speak. It is a good have an opinion but one has always guard against being an opiniated!

  3. An article that is in bad taste and written by someone who feels he is self made person. A person who cannot and does not respect his teacher need not be respected by anyone.

  4. The author sees things only from poor teacher-ship. Why such teachers are there in the first place? How the system of posting, training and supervision of teachers is practiced. Do those who know nothing have to be posted on the basis of caste, creed and social backgrounds alone even after 70 years of Independence? Consider the political angle which is playing hell with teaching and schooling. We have a minister in AP who declared that the mother tongue (Telugu) is useless for the future of pupils. So he got s GO issued that from KG to PG only English will be tgd medium of instruction. When sufficient English knowing teachers are nit found, he wants to trsin such teachers in his personal corporate education school / colkege net work! There are such perverted geniuses in all states. Nothing in schooling system is out of bounds for politicians and their corporate chums. We hsve a chsotic practical ground level education system.

    • This kind of casteist attitude is the main reason behind this article. The kind of education and upbringing you had, is as bad as this article.

  5. Good article. Our teachers should be a guide, friend, mother and afterall a source of inspiration to the students. Instead of asking questions to them let they ask queations to the teacher.

  6. Mothers day should also be abolished because many and many offsprings have turned out to be criminals. Even mothers are being hostile towards their kids (so many examples on the media). Kuch bhi likh do! Being critical is good if it has some positive outcome.

  7. Since the Indian way of imparting education was destroyed by Macaulayan theories and continued to be so even after Independence, why should we blame the teachers? It is the borrowed and government that should be held responsible. Who told them to appoint teachers on the basis of Reservation and not by their abilities? Who kept the teachers at the lowest rung of the society?

  8. Absolutely wrong.Despite all such allegations teachers are doing tremendously to make a society. It is quite easy to denounce and defame anyone these days but before it be ateacher and then say.anyone is where it is due toa teacher at any stage.some cases and persons can’t be a parameter to judge a noble profession.

  9. Teacher come from society and if we make merit list there will be topper in Ias, income tax ,police ,excise ,mcd ,fire hospital etc Teacher has failed because what you spend on education and what you expect from teacher ,teaching or all useless work of the govt.
    Stop Celebrating all days as every body has failed…
    Poor article and poor thinking

  10. Stupidest article ever!! I wonder who the author was trying to impress while writing this non-sense. A very immature manner of writing and highly biased. Too much deviated from reality. By this logic, we must atop celebrating Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Abuses are everywhere, in all relationships. Suppression of critical thinking is everywhere, in all relations and spheres of life. Even most developed nations suffer from this lack of virtue on part of teachers, where teaching is considered as just “profession”. BTW, FYI, World Teacher’s Day is celebrated all over the world on 5th October. Google it and plz editors of The Print, senseless articles like these should not be published.

  11. A very negative approach. The author of this article whose English is very good owes it to his/her teacher. Let us celebrate the good teachers

  12. For sure you are one of the communist traitor who leaves no occasion to propagate ill agenda to defame Indian treasures.. kids respect those teachers who all are respectable and neglect who are not and no body force them for it.

    You don’t see this occasion to motivate underperforming teachers by involving religious aspects.
    Some one who searches only problems in everything has ill mind.

  13. Hi Shivam,
    At the onset, this was a good read. And indeed some of the points picked up by you are commendable and kind of ‘truish’. Only issue, it seems to a lopsided view towards the teachers and the profession itself per say since;
    * The true spirit of Teacher’s Day is not for gaining respect. I hope you the real reason and don’t need me telling you that.
    * I am pretty sure most of the teachers like me around the world, would love to consider our jobs as a ‘job’ And be considered as proffessionals, since that would increase our chances of equal pay as compared to other profession and lead a good life of our own.
    *Having said that, point to be noted that in no way am i supportive of poor teaching quality, or trying to justify the same with the poor payment scenarios; but I guess one would agree better payment grades would attract better teachers.
    * ‘Forcing students to celebrate Teachers’ Day also forces them to pay respect to those teachers who abuse them physically or sexually. This is not to say all teachers do so. But some teachers do, and Teachers’ Day celebrates all teachers.’

    I somehow am just not able to fathom the falsification of truth here, or baised viewpoint presented. Point to be noted, neither do I support sexual crimes against children, nor do I support corporal punishments. But the way points are presented here, it kind of leaves an aftertaste that sexual abuse happen because Teacher’s Day is celebrated.

    *Last but not the least the corporal punishment, much debated topic, wherein everybody wants a piece of pie and has a suggestion for the teachers. Giving suggestions easy peasy, want to change something, be the change, pretty sure you’ve heard this before. The education sector can use a blue blooded indivduals like you and me to make schooling fun again.

    Well, these were my suggestions, viewpoints and corrections (habit die hard) on the submission you’ve made (*chuckles). Here’s wishing you a HAPPY TEACHER’S DAY!

  14. None of the above reasons can substantiate abolishing observation of Teacher’s day. This could be the day when we realize the importance of a teacher, and try to identify our lacunae (such as few mentioned above) and contemplate long term solutions, from root up.

  15. Article like these prove that the Liberal media will never understand the idea of India. One by one they are villifying every sentiment that India and its people stand for. Shame.

  16. Just like if this guy Vij is an arse doesn’t mean all of is, so one teacher out of a million turning out to be bad does not mean all teachers are bad

  17. You are absolutely correct, teacher should be some one who a student should feel like a friend ask some thing he does not know and teacher himself should try to motivate students who are not attentive in class and try to capture ones skill if they identify that and convey that to their parents so we can get more out of them rather than normal engineer or doctor

    • I do not agree to your agreeing of this article. Teaching a profession which creates other professions, and I do not think it applies to any other.
      There are corrupt and incompetent people in every profession who are employed by equally incompetent people. Eg. Bankers who are corrupt enough to exchange black money with new currency notes for a commission and making common people wait in queues.

      Teacher is a guide and philosopher who imparts knowledge, is created than any God and King. Kingdoms in past have revered Gurus they received guidance from, even Lord Ram was guided by Gurus in his quest. In the digital age where kids are compelled to feel neglected, lonely and lost, its the teacher who spend most time to under stand the kids thoughts and help them.

  18. Teachers are far more special in my life than celebration of a day every year.

    Respect should come from within, it should not be imposed forcefully on innocent minds.

  19. Then abolish Father’s Day as well. Yiu can allege a modern Father of similar crimes which you have associated modern teachers with. Also, going by your logic, why celebrate Valentine’s day? Most boys cheat girls in the name expressing love on Valentine’s Day, which devastates their lives. Let’s stop all this first.

  20. Shivam my only question to you who taught you to read and write ? You are not one of those unfortunate ones who have not even seen a school. Be thankful that you had teachers who taught you to think, may be irrationally, but you can think!

  21. what u written is correct for north Indian schools but in south situation is different there no sexual abuse, and so called bad teachers.

  22. All valid points. It should also be celebrated as the day when we can make teachers accountable for teaching outcomes. Any way, this day does not increase or decrease respect for teachers. The government teachers are now well paid and hence should teach well and with sincerity. Majority of private school teachers are poorly paid. They should be paid well too.

  23. What a stupid article by a half nitwit who does not understand the institution or the spirit of teaching. Surprised that such a biased article is being promoted by the print…this article needs to dumped into the dustbin

  24. In your life time on earth didn’t you get a teacher which qualified your so called standards??

    Just sit back and think of your teachers and your way of thanking them…!!!!

    You have written about teachers don’t forget about the students he/she teaches. Neither a teacher is saint nor students.

    Let me share few incidents that might take you to rethink: some engineering students thought it will be fun to throw eggs on black board. Will you call this a teacher’s fault for not able to impart good values.

    A girl falsely accused a teacher for sexual harassment because teacher poked her to complete the assignments. If a teacher asking for complete assignments it means he is asking for sexual favors.

    Similarly a cateogry student made a complaint under the act of harrasment. Does a teacher always ask your cast before teaching you?

    Parents of a student complained why their child was punished. A teacher can not punish when a child is indisciplined. If parents are not concerned with their chid reality is it a teacher’s fault?

    Teacher’s ability to impart knowledge , can you tell me one school which hire such teachers. All they want to show is how their students achieved in board exams. Is it a teacher’s fault for not experimenting?

    In our culture, it is said parents are next to god. Are parents not human, do they not mistakes, do they know everything? A teacher is there to share knowledge and every person has a limit. Why it is expected that a teacher should know everything?

    In last I will summarize that it is not teachers but we all are responsibke equally for the degradation.

    I will also add that I am a student and I got not all but few wonderful teachers who are true to their profession.

    Lastly if you can’t find a good teacher have you ever tried to be one- just a thought?

  25. Hzt.Ali(Karmula wjha) has said that a person who has taught me single word is free to keep me a slave or set me free.The role of any tr can never be ignored.The tr helps to explore the hidden talents.One idea of a tr imparted to a student changes the whole world.A tr.affects the eternity he never knows where his influence stops.On the occasion of trs day I pay a big salute to all my trs whose compound effort has moulded me into a responsible person.All trs deserve appreciation.If there is any fault that lies with the system but not with a person.

  26. OK, as per the auther of the article, a full fledged Moron, after abolishing the importance of the day, will everything become alright? Anyone here in this dumb media and so called column writers, to think about the teachers’ lost freedom to correct their students? Modern Law Law Law… Child rights act etc., Teachers’ hands are tied tightly.
    And to strike on a dead snake, these kind of heartless articles are written and published. ‘Metacognition’ is word. Think about it.

  27. This article is fundamentally flawed. Any one who has poor quality of teaching, or uses corporal punishment, or is a sexual abuser is not worthy of being called or known as a teacher!
    No offense to anybody, but everyone who instructs students in a classroom cannot be declared a teacher- there are only good teachers, anybody who is a ‘bad teacher’ in any aspect, including the ones you’ve stated here is not a teacher in the true meaning of the term.

  28. Thank God, I’m not the sole believer that this article is not even a bullshit but a dog’s which isn’t useful for any purpose but spreads its stinks.


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