From 'Teacher Condemnation' to 'System Condemnation'?

Years ago, it was felt that the root of all problems in education is the teacher. In fact, the MLLs (Minimum Levels of Learning, which served as the de fact national curriculum framework) in the late 80s and early 90s were designed to ensure 'teacher accountability' in terms of the minimum that would be achieved. A popular programme, Rishi Valley's multi-grade teaching  (adopted/adapted as 'activity based learning' in many states) actually originated from the desire to get children to be able to learn without needing the teacher (which is why there is so much of self learning in it).

People still continue to condemn the teacher and hold him responsible for all the ills in education. However, with the proliferation of so many 'reports' on education all around, there is now a great sense of intolerance towards the education system itself. The belief seems to be that not only government teachers and schools but the government education system itself is condemnable. Among NGOs, academics, commentators, researchers and intellectuals the general notion seems to be gathering steam that everything and everyone in the government system is the problem!

But what is a system if not the people in it, the way they work and the frame within which they work? From that point of view, I have to say that some of the finest people I've come across are 'system' people. Every year I get the chance to work with thousands of teachers who I see putting in 12-14 hour days when others from outside the system (e.g. NGOs) fade away after only 8 hrs of input. This is not to say everything is OK with the system or the policies or the people - it's just point out that a black and white view doesn't help. And that just as it is not possible to change a teacher while condemning him, it is not likely to be possible to improve a system while condemning it!