Are our teachers equipped for the present and ready for the future?

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The need for teacher education and addressing shortage of teachers


Mumbai, September 03, 2016:   As the country celebrates Teachers Day, recognising the important role the teacher plays in the delivery of education, it is important to look at the challenges facing the country in ensuring that all children have qualified, teachers in their classrooms.  Currently India faces an acute shortage of teachers. To achieve the sustainable development goals for education: ‘ensuring every child has access to a quality education by 2030’, UNESCO has projected that India will need to recruit 30 lakh additional teachers. This gap in school vis-à-vis teachers also finds reflection in the recent District Information System for Education (DISE) figures shared by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

In the academic year 2014-15 (Source: District Information System for Education, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development)
Schools in India Total number of schools Two teacher (%) One teacher (%) No teacher
(%) (numbers)
All (primary, senior secondary and higher secondary sections) 12.6 lakhs 41.55 11.62 0.84 11249
Primary Schools 7.6 lakhs 28.68 8.84 0.91 6404

Recent reports suggest that there are approximately 6.6 lakh teachers currently in the system who lack the requisite qualifications; in the Union education budget in 2016-17, a mere 1.17 per cent of the total is allocated to teacher education and training.

At a recent conference, the Sec of Education rightly stated tha Availabilty and quality of teachers is the key factor for ensuring learning. Given that teachers are critical. There is an urgent need to  for pre-service teacher education, recruitment, providing continuos professional development opportunites and transfers.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has invited recommendations to the Draft National Education Policy 2016 (NEP). This presents an opportune moment for the government to examine the issues relating to teachers and redesign Teacher education programmes.

No education system in the world has excelled without making a significant investment in building a cadre of quality teachers. Yet teacher education is one of the weakest links in the education sector in India. Against this backdrop, Tata Trusts have relentlessly focused on addressing some of the critical needs in education in India, especially with regards to teachers. With years of experience in working to improve access to quality education in some of the most remote geographies of India, while simultaneously addressing concerns of equity, through enhanced learning levels and opportunities, Tata Trusts has been ensuring appropriate learning levels, strengthening systems, training teachers, integrating appropriate technologies and mobilising communities. It has set up a core committee comprising well-known educationists to put forward a strategy on how teacher education should be addressed.

Listed below are some of the recommendations :

  • Focus on teacher education program – restructuring of teacher education programmes, linking them to Universities and schools. Create centres of excellence for Teacher education
  • Establish  clear criteria for recruitment of students into teacher education
  • Equip teachers with essential knowledge base and multiplicity of skills ranging from subject competence, understanding of the student, continous assessment and instilling values and behaviours.
  • Increase motivation of teachers and equip them with of skills by mobility within the system
  • Use technology to tackle the problem of teacher absenteeism, and reward good performance
  • Reign in substandard and unregulated teacher training institutes, 90 % of which are  in the private sector
  • Strengthen state-run institutes that suffer from multiple deficiencies, by a new institutional framework to formalise the accreditation process, develop institutional mechanisms for periodic monitoring of teacher training institutes and to ensure strict adherence to quality parameters
  • Help teachers identify their own professional development at least once every five years
  • Encourage teaching as a professional career option for the brightest; higher education should diversify specialisations into areas of curriculums and pedagogical studies
  • Fill in the teacher vacancies and create state-specific norms for fair and equitable deployment of teachers.

Some of our work in the area of Teacher Education  are: 

  • Setting up and expanding high-quality pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes apart from setting up online platform for teachers’ professional development. In the process of setting up regional centres for teacher education and are planning to host the nodal centre at Delhi University.
  • Seeding first of its kind blended Masters in Elementary Education programme in Tata Institute of Social Sciences which is contributed in developing a cadre of professionals since 2008
  • Setting up masters in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) at Ambedkar University
  • Setting up Regional Resource Centre for Elementary Education in Delhi Univeristy which provided anvenues to practicing teachers to undertake action research, development curricular framework that informed National Curricular Framework for Teacher Education: Towards preparing professional and humane teachers (2009)
  • Intensive work in over 1,000 schools in 8 states reaching out to over 5 lakh students in the country that focuses on improving student learning while working on teacher accountability through strenghtneing community involvement, providing in-service teacher training and onsite support to improve teacher practice, mainstreaming out of school children and adolescents across 30 most challenging blocks in the country.
  • Setting up first of its kind Teacher Resource Centre in District Institute for Teacher Education in Chamrajanagar for providing open access to  wide ranging resources and professional development opportunites to teachers
  • Developing blended in-service teacher education programmes for building perspective, skills and capacities of teachers on curricular areas such as language and mathematics
  • Leveraging the power of technology in education:

o  Capacity building of teachers is an important component, Tata Trusts in partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) in January 2016 where approximately 4,500 teachers participate in professional development programmes to enhance their teaching and facilitation skills.

o  These courses are certified by TISS, the premier university in India for applied social sciences. During these courses teachers interact with expert teacher educators and curriculum designers and share their classroom experiences both in person and online. In this process, they develop a research perspective on their work and teacher communities of practice are nurtured.

o  Under the Integrated approach to Technology in Education (ITE), Tata Trusts have experimented a pedagogical framework to improve teaching and learning processes and foster authentic and project based learning for about 17,000 students and 500 teachers across rural and urban slum areas in Eastern and Northern India.  In 2015, in partnerships with the government of Assam and West Bengal, Tata Trusts used the same model in 225 government schools and madrasas, reaching about 17000 children and have trained about 500 teachers in the ITE approach and skills. Today the ITE program is being implemented across nine states through 17 partners and direct project units, especially in resource poor communities.

o  Through another strategic association with the Khan Academy, Tata Trusts entered into a five-year partnership to leverage the power of technology to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere in the country. The collaboration works to build a supportive educational ecosystem to employ these resources to empower students and teachers, in particular the underserved who may otherwise lack access to quality education options.