Teacher education as reflected in NEP2020

In the last decade a number of experiments were done with the Teacher Education in India. In 2014 NCTE came with a new Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education in India and all of a sudden the duration of the two main teacher education courses B Ed and M Ed was changed from one year to two years but the results were the same, there was hardly any improvement in the quality of the output. Now the NEP 2020 has recommended that By 2021, a new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT in the country taking on board the real stake holders that is the Teacher Educators and the aspiring teachers as well. I am optimistic that the Two National agencies will conduct brain storming sessions with all grossroots level stakeholders before finalizing the new curriculum for teachers in the country. There is no harm if we take some positives from the countries who have done exceptionally well in the school education like Finland and others.

India being a young country with approximately 247853688 students and 9416895 Teachers and preparing such a big number of teachers is one of the biggest challenges. Thanks to the wonderful document of NEP2020 we now expect a robust teacher education system in the country. Teacher education has been the main focus of previous educational policies as well that is why kotheri commission, way back in 1964-66, has laid great emphasis on teacher education by saying – the destiny of a nation is shaped in its class room. The high respect for teachers and the high status of the teaching profession must be restored so as to inspire the best to enter the teaching profession. The motivation and empowerment of teachers is required to ensure the best possible future for our children and our nation. The following recommendations can easily be adopted without any burden on the state exchequer.

Comprehensive Teacher Education Programmes

The basic teacher education programmes and shorter local teacher education programmes to be made available at BITEs, DIETs, or at school complexes for  eminent local persons who can be hired to teach at schools as ‘master instructors’, for promoting local  professions, knowledge, and skills, e.g., local art, music, agriculture, business, sports, carpentry, and other  vocational crafts.

The B. Ed. programme shall now be a 4 Year integrated comprehensive programme and the students shall be admitted at 10 + 2 Level. All the teacher education institutions shall be converted into multidisciplinary institutions to develop multi-skilled teaches.

By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy and includes strong practicum training in the form of student-teaching at local schools. The 2-year and 1 year B.Ed. Programmes will also be offered, but only by the same multidisciplinary institutions offering the 4-year integrated B.Ed., for those who have already obtained Bachelor’s Degrees in other specialized subjects and  to those who have obtained a Master’s degree in a specialty and wish to become a subject teacher in that specialty. Provisions for high-quality B.Ed. programmes in blended or ODL mode to students in remote or difficult-to-access locations and also to in-service teachers have been advocated.

Approach to Teacher Education

Recognizing that the teachers will require training in high-quality content as well as pedagogy, teacher education will gradually be moved by 2030 into multidisciplinary colleges and universities. As colleges and universities all move towards becoming multidisciplinary, they will also aim to house outstanding education departments that offer B.Ed., M.Ed., and Ph.D. degrees in education.

Special Educators

There is an urgent need for additional special educators for certain areas of school education. Some examples of such specialist requirements include subject teaching for children with disabilities/Divyang children at the Middle and Secondary school level, including teaching for specific learning disabilities.

Recruitment of Teachers

Teachers shall now be recruited on the basis of Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) and same test will bestrengthened to inculcate better test material, both in terms of content and pedagogy. The TETs will also be extended to cover teachers across all stages (Foundational, Preparatory, Middle and Secondary) of school education. For subject teachers, suitable TET or NTA test scores in the corresponding subjects will also be taken into account for recruitment. To gauge passion and motivation for teaching, a classroom demonstration or interview will become an integral part of teacher hiring at schools and school complexes. These interviews would also be used to assess comfort and proficiency in teaching in the local language, so that every school/school complex has at least some teachers who can converse with students in the local language.

Service Conditions

The NEP has recommended that such a service culture may be developed in which the teachers can utilize their ability to do their jobs effectively, and to ensure that they are part of vibrant, caring, and inclusive communities of teachers, students, parents, principals, and other support staff, all of whom share a common goal: to ensure that our children are learning.

Professional Development

For the first time in the history of teacher Education it has been recommended that Teachers will be given continuous opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their professions. Each teacher will be expected to participate in at least 50 hours of continuous professional development opportunities every year for their own professional development, driven by their own interests. CPD opportunities will, in particular, systematically cover the latest pedagogies regarding foundational literacy and numeracy, formative and adaptive assessment of learning outcomes, competency-based learning, and related pedagogies,

Career Management and Progression (CMP)

The much needed positive feedback for doers in the education that is Teachers doing outstanding work must be recognized and promoted, and given salary raises, to incentivize all teachers to do their best work. Therefore, a robust merit-based structure of tenure, promotion, and salary structure will be developed, with multiple levels within each teacher stage that incentivizes and recognizes outstanding teachers. A system of multiple parameters for proper assessment of performance will be developed for the same by State/UT Governments that is based on peer reviews, attendance, commitment, hours of CPD, and other forms of service to the school and the community.

Professional Standards for Teachers

A common guiding set of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by 2022, by the National Council for Teacher Education in its restructured new form as a Professional Standard Setting Body (PSSB) under the General Education Council (GEC), in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers from across levels and regions, expert organizations in teacher preparation and development, expert bodies in vocational education, and higher education institution.

The Author is Dean and Head, School of Education Central University of Kashmir.