You may be shocked seeing the title of this article. Well, I am not while writing it. Indeed, over the last few years, with the mushrooming growth of online platforms across the globe, the education system has literally changed its complexion from good to bad to ugly. Gone are those old days when a teacher used to be respected for his or her dedication towards imparting true knowledge to the students. The decadence of the educational system has gradually paved the way for a commercialized version of education where the relationship between a teacher and the students has become more of a businessman and the customers. Knowledge has been replaced by money. Sacrifice has been swept away by glamour. If you know how to manipulate the sentiments of young minds, you have a good prospect of becoming a teacher or a mentor in the polished terminology on the online platforms. If you know how to play the Big Boss, you have the potentials to be branded as an excellent teacher by the corporate giants minting money with such platforms.
Few days back, I was watching a class of a so-called famous teacher of a very reputed brand of India. The duration of the class was around one hour. I heard new terms or phrases like ‘Baccha party’, ‘ishq with padhai’, ‘avengers of education’. The only thing missing was a single word about the syllabus. The class started with a dramatic expression of the beauty queen who was the ‘Mentor’ of that session. It was followed by ruthless attacks on another teacher who had recently left the company and had started his own startup. Soon she started eulogizing the owner of the company in the manner Macaulay has bootlicked Bentinck nearly two hundred years back. After that, she wanted all the ‘Baccha parties’ to go and tell their friends how empathetically the company takes care of its students and also announced that anyone using the reference number cited by her will get a hefty fifty percent discount in the course fee and the student who would be bringing students using such referral will get attractive gifts. The class ended. The students were happy. They started whatsapping the referral code. The teacher ended the class with flying kisses to the students and a naughty request,’ How many sweeties of you will show up tomorrow for more such interesting discussions?’ The screen was flooded with love signs.
The cardinal reason why such platforms are thriving is the ignorance of the parents about the worthlessness of such platforms and the helplessness of the students in search of proper career counselling. They easily get swept away just by seeing glimpses of the classes. The teachers are generally seen adopting a two-way strategy. Either you charm them with your flawless stylish accent or you captivate them by your desi style of pedagogy. Either it is suave or it is ‘dehaati’. There is nothing in between. Seize your prey by catering to what they are more comfortable in. And do not forget to use your referral code. At the end of the day, it is the only organic tool in the age of technology to count the number of customers you are bringing in. At the end of the month, the board reviews your performance. Do not worry. The performance review has nothing to do with your teaching skills. The Big Bosses are only looking for the number. The number of students you have been able to hook. Sad, but true.
Yes, there are glaring exceptions. There are some wonderful teachers who literally have excellent teaching skills and they are also teaching on such platforms. The way the Med representative allure the doctors, the corporate agents, too are busy trapping good teachers. But once they are lured to the system, they fall prey to the number game. And soon it is all business.
(To be continued…)