If teacher training is to be an ongoing process - to improve the quality of teachers, and thus of students - on whom does the onus lie for the effective training of our teachers? And what are the resources best recommended by educators to effectively train teachers? Read on for insights from Seema Handa, Director, Eklavya School, Jalandhar.
Seema Handa, Director, Eklavya School, Jalandhar.
The April 2019 deadline draws nearer, which will bar teachers who do not have the minimum qualifications mandated under the RTE Act 2009, from continuing in service. Is this a long-due corrective remedy? Is teacher training finally getting its due?
Absolutely! There is no question that teacher training is the need of the hour. In fact most professions require on-going updation of knowledge and skills. It is encouraging that finally attention is being focused on teacher training. Highly trained teachers with regular up-skilling will help the Indian education system to finally catch up with the rest of the world. (Somewhat like we have in the field of digital and internet technology.)
It is believed that no education system in the world has excelled without making a significant investment in building a cadre of quality teachers. How can we improve this weak link in the Indian education system?
Teachers are the backbone of the education system and if India wants to remain relevant in the 21st century, it has to focus on the education system because the future generation is being moulded in the schools of today. Fortunately with the technology revolution already in place, we can easily use the advantage to bridge the gap and bring ourselves at par with the best education systems in the world. Cost and availability of technology is no longer the major issue.
India’s challenge remains it’s huge numbers! Pockets of excellence exist but to scale up in a vast country like India with it’s geographical and demographical diversity, requires both government and individual endeavour.
Teacher training is often considered important only for procuring certification and thus a job. Unfortunately, quality suffers. Should teacher training be an ongoing process to improve the quality of teachers, and thus of students? Who needs to take the onus here?
Certainly teacher training has to be on-going. Constant upgradation of skills and awareness of the latest and current teaching practices is a must.
Schools-Teachers-Parents are engaged in the same enterprise; that of educating young children. This triangle is duly supported by the government, non-government, public and private enterprises. So the onus lies on all of us – the government, the society at large, the schools, and most importantly on the parents. As long as the parents remain focused on premium brands or infrastructure, the quality of teachers and the quality of education will continue to suffer. As soon as the focus shifts to the quality of education being imparted in a school, we shall see a major upswing in the quality of teachers and hence their teaching.
At the same time, the government and policy makers need to give direction to the change being sought. In that context focus on teacher training is a very welcome step.
What are the resources you recommend to effectively train teachers?
Access to technology can be a great equalizer. With government support, linked with private enterprise, pedagogy and best practices from around the world can be adapted and implemented in the Indian context.
Identifying the ground-breaking work already being done in certain pockets of India and bringing it mainstream will be another resource which can be tapped.
We must tap into India’s huge reservoir of traditional wisdom and value-based education system, and reinvent the present education system, making it relevant in the 21st century.
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