Random Learnings

Reforming Education: The Pay Way

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” 

H G Wells 

Irrespective of the country, region or community we hail from, no one – not a single one of us – would argue against the cause of education. Education is required and every one has the fundamental right to it. We all agree. And if we want to further our civilization, go to Mars or just reduce the increasing inequality in our not so different societies, we realize that education has a major role to play.

What is Education?

Education is about making sense out of tacit knowledge – a gooey mass of information resulting from experience or experimentation. It is about organizing it, making connections and synthesizing it all at the same time. It helps us develop heuristics while maintaining the spirit of scientific inquiry. It makes life easier and better.

So education is not just about getting a degree from a school or just learning the alphabets. It is much more. It is a tool, a vehicle if you may. But while we are concerned about the qualification of our pilots flying our planes, we somehow have not been able to attach the same importance to our teachers, our educators – the ones delivering education to us, providing us with the single most important tool that is going to help us live a better life.

“He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903

While most of us (in the group “internet junta“) would have been fortunate enough to find educators who chose to be educators and did not become one because they had no other option, we know that mostly George Bernard Shaw was accurate in saying the above.

To be fair, there are many other professions where the professionals in that domain had not foreseen themselves to be in that profession. Also, the profession of imparting education can be said to be much better than many other professions. But given that education is quintessential for the advancement of our civilization, shouldn’t education be THE choice? Shouldn’t it be as competitive to be an educator as it is to be a lawyer or an investment banker or a bureaucrat or a consultant (depending on whichever profession is valued more in your country)?

Remember we are not just focusing on professors here who may get to teach only those who attend college and get paid pretty well doing that. If we should be focusing at all, we should be focusing on the school teachers who deal with more members of our species. And there is a lot of difference in terms of remuneration and social status when comparing a school teacher with a professor.

Invert the Pyramid

So to provide quality education, we need quality educators. This too we understand. We need the best people to teach our next generation. One would argue that passion would make up for quality. Maybe. But maybe if one is really passionate about teaching, that one would be extra motivated if we just raised the stakes, if we just inverted the pyramid – made the compensation of school teachers equal to that of the professors’.


Just think what would that world look like. If we took this little step. If we gave the profession of imparting education the importance that it deserves. If we just did this. Just raised the pay. If we just paid our school teachers as much as we pay our bankers or doctors.

The world then just might become a tad brighter. Much brighter. Don’t you think?

We rest our argument here and leave you with this thought.

Picture Credit: in.pinterest.com/davidmirsk

Author: Amartya Dey, India

Next article: Education & Health: Linking the Two

1 reply »

  1. The way wages and salaries are designed has a great impact on people selecting a particular trade as their profession of choice, more so in a developing country with growing middle class.
    The craze of MBA among undergrads exemplifies the point.
    As in India we have allowed the salaries of teachers to be determined by the Demand-Supply Dynamics, a complete re-engineering of the process is required.

    Nehurivian ideals created world class institutes at the Graduation Level, now though we are economically stable to have world class institutions at Elementary Level.

    If we remember Pre-Vajpayee , even the remunerations of Professor’s in India weren’t that attractive, it took a Scholar like him to prioritize this politically benefit-less but futuristic move.

    (PS:Amartya Da, what a coincidence I was actually thinking about the same things last evening.)


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