Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

Yet another example of a one size fits all approach has manifested itself recently. An excerpt from an article in the Indian Express on June 29, 2011 titled B.Ed. must, alternative schools weigh options reads:

At Rishi Valley School and Doon School, many teachers have been working for a long time without a Bachelor’s degree in education, though some have a Master’s and some even a Ph D from elite institutions such as the IITs in India and Harvard abroad. Now the government has asked these teachers to enroll in a distance learning programme, such as those offered by IGNOU, and get a Bachelor’s degree a diploma in education. With the government firm that a teacher’s qualification must be standardised under the RTE Act, bigger “alternative schools” have fallen in line with the NCTE’s prescription while the smaller ones are looking at the prospect of closing down.

This is quite ironic. Why make sweeping generalization that wilfully result in situations like these? Teacher education is an important issue involving not just the state of teacher qualifications like the Bachelor of Education degree, but also the working conditions, incentives, support, motivation and skill development of teachers in general. Not to miss the sorry conditions of para-teachers in India.

I have often said that we are making a mistake by arguing against the current exam focussed educational system, while at the same time putting our own teachers and future educational administrators through the same process. There is also the question of the relevance of the current curriculum itself. Interestingly, the Faculty of Education at Delhi University does not even have the syllabus online for its various courses! At some point, we will encounter the argument for more vocational based certifications for teaching given the large scale we face.


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I was discussing the formation of a specialized cadre, perhaps on the lines of the Indian Administrative Services, for providing a set of well trained educators and educational administrators that have a pan Indian impact. I was told that former Education Secretary, Anil Bordia, has been empowered to investigate this. Subsequently, I found a recent news report talking about just that and a rather old reference here.

We have to conceptualize the IES in a way that it does not become bureaucratic and rigid. It needs to be the main driver of educational reform with all the regulatory infrastructure at its disposal, aligned to its mission. I think it is being thought as an adjunct of the Ministry of HRD, just like the IAS serves the government. That may kill it from two perspectives – from the point of view of conflict with the existing bureaucracy and from the point of view of yet creating another rigid, subservient structure.

An interesting part of the news report was the focus on helping universities train their own future staff. I think this would be a great thing if it can happen. There needs to be proper focus at the university level, to build up an infrastructure that meets national and local teacher needs.

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