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The Teacher Education Policy in India has evolved over time and is based on recommendations contained in various Reports of Committees/Commissions on Education, the important ones being the Kothari Commission (1966), the Chattopadyay Committee (1985), the National Policy on Education (NPE 1986/92), Acharya Ramamurthi Committee (1990), Yashpal Committee (1993), and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF, 2005). The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which became operational from 1st April, 2010, has important implications for teacher education in the country.
Legal and Institutional Framework
Within the federal structure of the country, while broad policy and legal framework on teacher education is provided by the Central Government, implementation of various programmes and schemes are undertaken largely by state governments. Within the broad objective of improving the learning achievements of school children, the twin strategy is to (a) prepare teachers for the school system (pre-service training); and (b) improve capacity of existing school teachers (in-service training).
For pre-service training, the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), a statutory body of the Central Government, is responsible for planned and coordinated development of teacher education in the country. The NCTE lays down norms and standards for various teacher education courses, minimum qualifications for teacher educators, course and content and duration and minimum qualification for entry of student-teachers for the various courses. It also grants recognition to institutions (government, government-aided and self-financing) interested in undertaking such courses and has in-built mechanism to regulate and monitor their standards and quality.
For in-service training, the country has a large network of government-owned teacher training institutions (TTIs), which provide in-service training to the school teachers. The spread of these TTIs is both vertical and horizontal. At the National Level, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), along with its six Regional Institutes of Education (REIs) prepares a host of modules for various teacher training courses and also undertakes specific programmes for training of teachers and teacher educators. Institutional support is also provided by the National University on Education al Planning and Administration (NUEPA). Both NCERT and NUEPA are national level autonomous bodies. At the state level, the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), prepares modules for teacher training and conducts specialised courses for teacher educators and school teachers. The Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and Institutes for Advanced Learning in Education (IASEs) provide in-service training to secondary and senior secondary school teachers and teacher educators. At the district level, in-service training is provided by the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs). The Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) form the lowest rung of institutions in the vertical hierarchy for providing in-service training to school teachers. Apart from these, in-service training is also imparted with active role of the civil society, unaided schools and other establishments.
Financing of programmes and activities
For pre-service training, the government and government-aided teacher education institutions are financially supported by the respective State Governments. Further, under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education, the Central Government also supports over 650 institutions, including the DIETs, CTEs and the IASEs.
For in-service training, financial support is largely provided by the Central Government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is the main vehicle for implementation of the RTE Act. Under the SSA, 20 days in-service training is provided to school teachers, 60 days refresher course for untrained teachers and 30 days orientation for freshly trained recruits. Central assistance for in-service training is also provided to District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and Institutes of Advanced Studies In Education (IASEs) under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education. State Governments also financially support in-service programmes. Several NGOs, including multi-lateral organizations, support various interventions, including in-service training activities.
Implications on Teacher Education of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has implications on the present teacher education system and the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education. The Act inter alia provides that :
- The Central Government shall develop and enforce standards for training of teachers;
- Persons possessing minimum qualifications, as prescribed by an academic authority authorise by the Central Government, shall be eligible to be employed as teachers;
- Existing teachers not possessing such prescribed qualifications would be required to acquire that qualification within a period of 5 years.
- The Government must ensure that the Pupil-Teacher Ratio specified in the Schedule is maintained in each school
- Vacancy of a teacher in a school, established, owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government, shall not exceed 10% of the sanctioned strength.
National Curriculum Framework on Teacher Education
The National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) has prepared the National Curriculum Framework of Teacher Education, which was circulated in March 2009. This Framework has been prepared in the background of the NCF, 2005 and the principles laid down in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which necessitated an altered framework on Teacher Education which would be consistent with the changed philosophy of school curriculum recommended in the NCF, 2005. While articulating the vision of teacher education, the Framework has some important dimensions of the new approach to teacher education, as under:
- Reflective practice to be the central aim of teacher education;
- Student-teachers should be provided opportunities for self-learning, reflection, assimilation and articulation of new ideas;
- Developing capacities for self-directed learning and ability to think, be critical and to work in groups.
- Providing opportunities to student-teachers to observe and engage with children, communicate with and relate to children. The Framework has highlighted the focus, specific objectives, broad areas of study in terms of theoretical and practical learnings, and curricular transaction and assessment strategies for the various initial teacher education programmes. The draft also outlines the basic issues that should guide formulation of all programmes of these courses. The Framework has made several recommendations on the approach and methodology of in-service teacher training programmes and has also outlined a strategy for implementation of the Framework. As a natural corollary to the NCFTE, the NCTE has also developed ‘model’ syllabi for various teacher education courses.
Reforms in Regulatory Framework
The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was constituted under the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 for achieving planning and coordinated development of teacher education in the country, for regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the teacher education system. In the recent past the NCTE has undertaken various steps for systemic improvements in its functioning and in improving the teacher education system, as under :
- Based on the study of demand and supply of teachers and teacher educators of the various states, the NCTE has decided not to receive further applications for several teacher education courses in respect of 13 States. This has led to substantial rationalisation in the demand-supply situation across States;
- The Regulations for grant of recognition and norms and standards for various teacher education courses were revised and notified on 31st August, 2009. The applications for grant of recognition are now processed strictly in chronological order. The new Regulations make the system more transparent, expedient and time bound, with reduction in discretionary powers of the Regional Committees;
- e-Governance system has been introduced by way of providing online facility for furnishing of applications and online payment of fees. MIS has been developed to streamline the process of recognition;
- The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education has been developed keeping in view NCF, 2005;
- Academic support is being provided through preparation of Manual for the teacher education institutions and publication and dissemination of Thematic Papers on Teacher Education.
- Various quality control mechanisms have been developed, including re-composition of the Visiting Teams, periodical monitoring of the teacher education institutions and de-recognition of institutions not conforming to the Norms and Standards prescribed by the NCTE.
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