Friday, April 06, 2012

For quality teaching, national mission proposed

Worried over the quality of teaching, the government proposes to set up a National Mission on Teachers and Teaching that would address the entire gamut of issues relating to teachers including teacher education and quality of teaching. The broader policy of teacher/faculty shortages and vacancies, recruitment policies, capacity building of teachers for improvement in qualification, pedagogic skills, technology enabled teaching; continuous training and retraining, and pre-service and in-service training will be brought under the purview of the Mission that will be discussed at the Education Secretary's meeting scheduled later this month.

Holistic approach
The Mission will look at teacher education in a holistic manner and in a single continuum covering school to universities and suggest ways to strengthen the institutional mechanisms at all levels so that there are vertical and lateral linkages. The challenges of technology interventions to enhance effectiveness of classroom transactions and how to equip teachers in its use, will be clearly spelt out. The Mission goals are sought to be achieved through a combination of policy measures, programmatic and scheme based intervention, creating capacity in Central and State universities for preparation of teachers educators and establishment of Schools of Education in universities

Given the total intake capacity in the teacher education institutions for the elementary and secondary teacher education courses, there is a need to expand the capacity for preparing teacher educators, from the present 28,957 to around 40,000. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is taking steps to ensure that, to start with, all Central Universities take steps for developing institutional capacity to prepare teacher educators. However, even State Universities need to be requested to take action in this regard.

The proposal is to establish Schools of Education (SoE) in select Universities to institute linkages between universities, teacher education institutions and schools. The proposed strategy is to identify 40 University Departments based in Central Universities, selected State Universities, Deemed Universities and other Centres of Higher Education, including the Regional Colleges of Education of the NCERT to establish Schools of Education. These institutions are envisaged to include several units/centres that would undertake in-depth work in specific areas that have remained neglected in teacher and school education.

Untrained teachers
Recent analysis made by the Department of Education shows that there are 523,000 vacancies of school teachers at the elementary level and there would be additional requirement of around 510,000 teachers to fulfil the provisions of Pupil Teacher Ratio specified in the Schedule of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Moreover, around 774,000 teachers are untrained, that is, they do not possess the prescribed qualifications. Under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), 179,000 additional teachers need to be appointed in secondary schools. Focus on English, Mathematics and Science teachers in secondary schools is also necessary.

In Central Universities, as per data is available in respect of 24 universities across 16 States on an average nearly 35 per cent faculty position are lying vacant. As regards, State Universities, UGC has provided data in respect of faculty positions for 77 State Universities spread across 23 States. Of these, 19 universities have more than 50 per cent posts lying vacant, whereas another 14 have over 40 per cent posts vacant. In technical education also, there is a faculty deficit of around 100,000.

Source: The Hindu, April 6, 2012

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