Teachers - The Brickstones of Our Education System - Daily Current Affair Article

CONTEXT:

On special occasions like Teacher’s Day we say all sorts of noble words about the vocation of teaching, and some teachers are awarded by the State, the fact is that as a society we are not very serious about the role of teachers as the messengers of emancipatory education. This needs to be changed.

From Yajnavalkya conversing with Maitreyi in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad to Rabindranath Tagore seeking to make a difference in a “poet’s school”, from MK Gandhi evolving with the children in Tolstoy Farm in South Africa to Paulo Freire nurturing the vision of a “dialogic” teacher: The great ideals and practices have always given a meaning to the vocation of teaching. However, ideals fall apart in the difficult times we live in.

TEACHING- REQUIRED ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AT VARIOUS LEVELS

  • At the Pre-Primary level, Nursery Teachers Training (NTT) for 1 year or Diploma in Early Childhood Education (D.E.C.Ed.) for 2 years after class 12th is required.
  • For being the Primary level teacher, Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) for 2 years, Bachelor’s in Elementary Education (B.El.Ed) for 4 years or Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) for 2 years.
  • For Secondary level teacher, You can pursue a Bachelor’s in Education (B.Ed) for 2 years after graduating from a teaching subject (non-professional, degree courses).
  • For Senior Secondary level, one needs a Post-Graduation degree in a teaching subject (non-professional, degree courses) and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree.
  • For Professorship, UGC-NET exam has to be qualified after post-graduation degree in the subject of interest.

PROBLEMS WITH TEACHING IN INDIA

  • Lack of environment that promotes emancipatory education, and nurtures the true spirit of the vocation of teaching
  • With rote learning, poor teacher-taught ratio, pathetic infrastructure, chaotic classrooms and demotivated teachers, it is not possible to expect even the slightest trace of intellectually stimulating and ethically churning education
  • Because of nepotism, corruption and trivialisation of BEd degrees, there is massive devaluation of the vocation.
  • Triumphant political class has caused severe damage to some of our leading public universities, and fancy institutes of technology and management see education primarily as a training for supplying the workforce for the techno-corporate empire, teachers are becoming mere “service providers” or docile conformists

MEASURES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT

  • In order to focus on quality education, the Central rules to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 have been amended to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise learning outcomes.
  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducts periodic national surveys of learning achievement of children in classes 3, 5, 8 and 10. Four rounds of National Achievement Survey (NAS) have been conducted so far for class 5 and three rounds for classes 3 and 8. These reveal improvement in learning achievement levels of pupils, in identified subjects from first round to fourth round.
  • Section 23(2) of the RTE Act has been amended to extend the period of in-service training for untrained elementary teachers to acquire minimum qualifications.
  • A four year BEd integrated course to bring about qualitative improvement in teacher education programmes in India has been conceptualised and crucial aspects like gender, inclusive education, ICT, yoga, Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Health & Sanitation are included.
  • The Central Government has launched an integrated scheme for school education named as Samagra Shiksha, which subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored schemes of school education i.e Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education (CSSTE).
  • Government of India has decided to participate in the programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) to be conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2021. Learnings from participation in PISA help to introduce competency based examination reforms in the school system and help move away from rote learning.
  • In order to provide supplementary learning material for students and for upgrading the skills of teachers, MHRD has developed a dedicated Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) platform.
  • The Government has launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme to motivate and engage children of the age group of 6-18 years in science, mathematics and technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities.
  • MHRD has launched a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform popularly known as SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active learning for Young Aspiring Minds) offering various online courses for school education and higher education

NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2020 ON TEACHER'S SKILLING

  • The National Education Policy recognises and identifies teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process.
  • NEP 2020 recognises that teachers will require training in high-quality content as well as pedagogy. By 2030, teacher education will gradually be moved into multidisciplinary colleges and universities. The minimum degree qualification for our teachers will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy.
  • This degree will also include strong practicum training in the form of student-teaching at local schools
  • Furthermore, special shorter local teacher education programmes will also be available at BITEs, DIETs, and school complexes. These courses will promote local professions, knowledge, and skills for holistic education
  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated.
  • Teachers will be given continuous opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their professions. These will be offered in multiple modes, including in the form of local, regional, State, National, and international workshops as well as online teacher development modules. Each teacher will be expected to participate in at least 50 hours of CPD opportunities every year for their own professional development, driven by their own interests.

SAMAGRA SHIKSHA 2.0

  • The Centre has approved the continuation of the ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’ for school education for the next five years till March 31, 2026. The scheme has also been revamped now with the addition of new Components/initiatives based on the recommendations of the NEP 2020.
  • Scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  • The scheme mainly aims to support States in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. It involves a 60:40 split in funding between the Centre and most States.

Components:

  • In order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child-centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through DBT [or direct benefit transfer] mode on an IT-based platform over a period of time.
  • This DBT would include RTE entitlements such as textbooks, uniforms and transport allowance.
  • Keeping with the NEP’s recommendations on encouraging Indian languages, it has a new component for appointment of language teachers, which includes salaries, and training costs as well as bilingual books and teaching learning material
  • It will have the NIPUN Bharat initiative for foundational literacy and numeracy, which will get an annual provision of ₹500 per child for learning materials, ₹150 per teacher for manuals and resources and ₹10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
  • As part of digital initiatives, there is a provision for ICT labs and smart classrooms, including support for digital boards, virtual classrooms and DTH channels.
  • It includes a provision to support out of school children from age 16 to 19 with funding of ₹2000 per grade to complete their education via open schooling.
  • It also has a provision for an incentive of up to ₹25000 for schools that have two medal-winning students at the Khelo India school games at the national level

ASSOCIATION OF TEACHING AND RESEARCH AT HIGHER EDUCATION LEVEL

  •  This has been a trend seen in India, that students and teachers after getting a paid job lack interest and motivation to further continue their studies at higher level.
  • They lack interest in research work
  • This costs India at a very huge level where R&D is lacking and India is at back position with respect to new inventions and discoveries.
  • Moreover, any new development in the field of knowledge related to innumerable fields of science, maths and others would tremendously push the country into spotlight in International arena. Students and teachers lack this vision.
  • With the various governmental initiatives, it is required by the students and teachers now that they think in this area and contribute for the country.

WAY FORWARD

A teacher is not just a subject expert. She walks with her students as a co-traveller and as a catalyst, she helps the young learner to understand his/her uniqueness and innate possibilities. She is not a machine that merely repeats the dictates of the official curriculum; nor is she an agent of surveillance — disciplining, punishing, hierarchising and normalising her students through the ritualisation of examinations and grading. Instead, she is creative and reflexive; and it is through the nuanced art of relatedness that she activates the learner’s faith that he is unique, he need not be like someone else, he must look at the process of his inner flowering, and the artificially constructed binary of “success” and “failure” must be abandoned. This understanding is deep-rooted in our society as ours is a society that saw the likes of Gijubhai Badheka, Rabindranath Tagore and Jiddu Krishnamurti who inspired us, and made us believe that a teacher, far from being a cog in the bureaucratic machine, carries the lamp of truth, and walks with her students as wanderers and seekers to make sense of the world they live in, and free it from what belittles man.

Sources

  • The Indian Express
  • The Hindu
  • PIB
  • Government websites
  • Times of India
  • India today
General Studies Paper 2
  • Education