One of Nagpur’s widely respected and reverent educationists, Mohan Gandhe, believes in imparting quality education to his students. Gandhe, the director of Gandhe Commerce Classes, is the president of the school committee of MKH Sancheti Public School and Junior college and is also the president of the governing body of City Premier College, which is set up under the Late M D Gandhe Memorial Education society. In a candid chat with Nation Next, Mohan Gandhe speaks about his idea of teaching and how it came naturally to him as a passion.
What inspired you to be a teacher? Did you ever think of a different career? Tell us about your journey…
No, I never thought of a different career. My father was a teacher as well who would teach high school commerce students under Gandhe’s Commerce Classes (GCC) then. It was only after my father was transferred to ZTS (Zonal Training School) in Bhusawal, I continued his legacy because I was the only choice to continue with GCC. Right from the time I was in my 7th standard, I saw my father teach students at home. This is how I automatically developed interest in teaching. It was basically a compulsion rather than a choice. I started teaching my friends in 1984 and in 1986 I started teaching my father’s students after his transfer. Eventually in 1989, I set up GCC on a larger scale.
You come across as a very humble and deferent human being. It’s very rare to see a teacher who is appreciated and respected unanimously by his pupils. What sets you apart?
The students don’t like me because I’m humble. It’s because I’m polite most of the times and that’s how I’m. While mentoring my students I can’t remain so humble always but I’m always good to them because they need a mentor, some or the other time.
What is the best part of your job? As an educationalist, which is that one thing that makes you feel content?
Teaching is the best part of my job. I feel satisfied when I see the satisfaction on my student’s faces.
What is your idea of a good teacher? How do you manage to be one, with different kinds of students and attitudes?
A good teacher should take the ownership of the students like he takes the ownership of his children. Every teacher must understand this so that every student becomes a better human being and serves the country better
Are you happy with the present education system in Commerce field? If not, what changes should be done?
It needs a change; we have to incorporate skill training in our formal education system so that we find an employable graduate. Nagpur University should make skill-training education compulsory.
Your wife, Aparna too is actively involved in the management of Gandhe Commerce Classes (GCC), City Premier College (CPC) and MKH Sancheti Public School. How is it, sharing similar interests with your partner? How helpful it is?
Aparna doesn’t contribute to CPC and the school much. She takes care of GCC to some extent. Most importantly, she manages my house very well and therefore I’m more satisfied and comfortable while working.
What kind of problems do you face nowadays vis-a-vis the young generation students? You think cell phones should not be allowed in coaching classes and college lectures?
Students today are not interested in finding a guru. They presume that they know everything because of their peer pressure. That’s why they suffer a lot. Today, most of the children get good amount of money for their expenses and that’s why money is no more a need for today’s child whereas in our times, money was our first need and therefore we used to strive a lot. We would try to perform a lot. Just because of the independence of money, they are not able to understand the importance of a guru. Cell phones must be definitely banned in the classrooms. Every educational institution must have a separate area for students to use their cell phones. Banning cell phones is the need of the hour. Today the smart phones have a large number of utilities, which is inducing them to go for illegal practices.
Which personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your teaching?
My hard work helped me. When I was young, I would work for 18-20 hours a day. I used to put in a lot of efforts then. But now as I have appointed physical resources, my responsibility has reduced a lot and I have to struggle very less. This has helped me a lot. This holds true for any businessmen like me, who are tagged as successful.
What do you like most about teaching as a career? What role do ethics and morals play in your classroom?
The best part about teaching is satisfaction. Education is the only profession where there is no corrupt practice. Ethics and morals are very necessary in business. If they are not followed in our profession, our students will learn to carry unethical activities in their life. It’s very necessary for educational institutions to have a code of conduct and the management must adhere to it.
Do you think students take their college lectures too casually because they heavily rely on coaching classes?
Both, college lecture and private classes are necessary. Today, because the child is attending coaching classes, he doesn’t mind bunking college. By joining coaching classes, he’s assuming that revision classes are available so he’s bunking regular coaching classes too and at the end he’s barely studying, which is keeping him away from basic understanding of the subject thoroughly. He remains a half knowledge graduate. If a student is occupied in something constructive, it’s fine if he has to miss his classes. My request to all the students is to engage themselves in constructive activities.
Do you think digital technology, interactive boards and easy communication with students via social media are helping with classroom teaching, thereby making it more convenient?
Digital media is really useful but it can’t be a substitute for a personal teacher. Most of the working students find it a good tool but otherwise it lacks personal touch. It is devoid of classroom coaching and one to one coaching.
A teacher for more than 25 years of experience, you know the pulse of students. How well do you understand your children, Vikram and Ajinkya and their mindsets? As a father, how has it helped you?
I definitely understand their mindsets but for my children, I’m not ‘Gandhe sir’; I’m their father. Somebody else should become their guru to properly understand them. I try to explain my children what is correct and incorrect. I’m in touch with my sons throughout the day but for students, to whom access to me is remote, even my ten words would suffice, but for my child, they won’t.
If you were to pass on your legacy to your sons, Vikram and Ajinkya, what piece of advice would you give them?
They can enter my business only when they are capable teachers and administrators. Let the best person (teacher) take the responsibility because it’s the institution that is important. I would never pressurise them though I would love them to carry forward my legacy.
You are one of the few teachers who have got into educational business. Do you still remain a teacher at the core or has the businessman taken over?
I have trained many teachers over the years and now those teachers are again creating more teachers in my institute. So my job of teaching and creating teachers is continuing either through me or through my associates. As far as carrying on my business is concerned, it was again a compulsion (like I became a teacher by default); I became a businessman by default too just because I took over the college (CPC). So everything happened by an accident. It was never a choice. So now I am both – a teacher and a businessman.