Teacher Education Initiative
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 demands equity, access and quality in education. Systemic improvement in the quality of learning outcomes, however, depends on the calibre of people working with children. School curricular reform, which aims to enable all children to learn and develop, requires a robust system of continuous teacher education across all levels of primary and secondary school education.
The issue of teacher education, however, is a multi-layered one. Some of the challenges in strengthening talent comes from the basic issue of the status of the teaching profession in India. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of quality teacher training institutes, weak regulation to ensure quality of training, the difficulty in attracting and retaining talent, the disconnect between pre-service and in-service phase, etc.
The Tata Trusts’ educational interventions are aimed at enhancing the quality of learning outcomes; hence, teacher education becomes crucial to the sustainability of those endeavours. The Trusts envisage a revitalisation of the teacher education sector through developing and offering quality programmes in pre-service and in-service teacher education, as well as offering high-quality academic and pedagogic resources in Indian languages. The goal is to collaborate with both national and international institutions. In order to achieve this vision, the Trusts have:
Seeded a first-of-its-kind Masters Programme in Elementary Education at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The aim is to build a cadre of trained professionals through a course that enables practitioners to upgrade their skills in both face-to-face and distance modes.
Set up the Regional Resource Centre on Elementary Education (RRCEE) at Delhi University.
RRCEE is part of the University School Resource Network that bridges school and higher education institutions. The curriculum development work undertaken by RRCEE serves as the base for the National Curricular Framework – Teacher Education (2009), and the model curriculum developed by RRCEE has become the guiding document for renewing the teacher education curriculum in the country.
- Set up Teacher Resource Centres in diverse educational settings. The one-of-its-kind resource centre set up in the District Institute of Teacher Education (DIET) at Chamarajanagar, Karnataka, has been documented and recognised as a best practice by MHRD.
The Trusts believe that in order to make a strategic and long-term impact on the quality of school education, it is important to have a well-articulated and well-thought strategy on teacher education. The Trusts have therefore instituted a Working Group, comprising national level experts in teacher education, including Dr Padma Sarangapani, ex-Dean, School of Education, TISS; Dr Poonam Batra, Professor, Department of Education, RRCEE, and former member of the Justice Verma Commission; Dr Rohit Dhankar, Professor of Philosophy, Azim Premji University, and Director, Digantar; Dr Khader, ex-Director, SCERT (Kerala); and Ms B Seshukumari, Director, SCERT (Telangana).
The Working Group will:
- Deliberate on issues with the members of the core group
- Organise sub-sector-specific consultations to identify their perspectives on issues in teacher education and how it’s influencing the quality of learning outcomes.
- Undertake specific short-term research to bridge any existing knowledge gaps.
- Synthesise the outcomes from deliberations, primary and secondary studies and present the possibilities for the Trusts’ consideration, in order of priority.
Through these interventions, the Trusts aim to establish a growing community of professionally trained teachers who can avail of resources for professional development, learn and exchange new ideas of instruction, and transform their teaching practices to stimulate learning in their classrooms.
- The Trusts were approached by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) to develop a four-year integrated pre-service teacher education curriculum that involved multiple specialisation tracks.
- The Trusts are on the steering committee of DIKSHA, a national teacher portal set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and helped develop the rubrics for the portal.
- The Trusts have built teachers’ capacities through partnerships with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Language and Learning Foundation and Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Going forward, the Trusts aim to launch a Centre of Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE) at TISS, Mumbai. The Trusts also aim to undertake and study teacher professional development pilots in one or two states and feed the learning into the National Teacher Portal.