Technical Capacity Building ICT Inculcation in Teacher Education : Digital Learning

 “The NCTE announced its resolve to take a number of initiatives to regulate the growth of teacher education institutions in the country and to ensure maintenance of norms and standards in these institutions. The norms and standards have been revised based on felt need.”

What is the philosophy/mandate behind NCTE that guides it to regulate and maintain the norms and standards in Teacher Education System?

The National Council for Teacher Education continues to vigorously pursue the mandate given to it by the Act of Parliament to achieve planned and coordinated development of teacher education and to regulate and maintain norms and standards in the teacher education system across the country. The functioning of the Regional Committees of the NCTE which are primarily entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with all cases of recognition, as per the procedure laid down by the Rules and Regulations framed under the NCTE Act, has been streamlined with close monitoring so as to achieve the desired results.  Detailed scrutiny of the applications and strict adherence to the norms and standards has resulted in a higher rejection rate.  The NCTE has adopted zero tolerance policy in this matter.  Since the Regulations provide for a mechanism of Appeal under Section 18 of the NCTE Act, the higher rate of rejection of applications for recognition has resulted in a large number of institutions opting for the appeal mechanism.Adoption of the principle of strict adherence to norms by the Appeal Committee has resulted in higher rejection rate of appeals as well.  Strict adherence to norms and standards has pushed the NCTE into an unenviable situation.  It has been left with no alternative except to plead before various High Courts in the country, where applicants are staking their claim to get recognition to their proposed institutions somehow.  In order to achieve its mandate of planned development of teacher education in the country, the NCTE has to take an impartial but principled stand to check the growth of substandard teacher education institutions at the formal entry point itself i.e. the point at which recognition is accorded.The NCTE announced its resolve to take a number of initiatives to regulate the growth of teacher education institutions in the country and to ensure maintenance of norms and standards in these institutions. The norms and standards have been revised based on felt need. The new Regulations and revised norms were approved by the General Council of the NCTE on 2nd June, 2009 and these were notified, after legal vetting by the Ministry of Law on 31st August, 2009. This exercise incidentally helped the NCTE carryout the directions received from the Ministry of Human Resource Development under Section 29 of the NCTE Act to review its Regulations, 2007.  A year to year ban has been imposed on opening new teacher education institutions in some such states where already these institutions are in excess of the requirement.With a view to bring transparency in the processing of applications from this year all applications are received on-line only.  Institutions are being informed about the processing status of their applications online. As part of a drive to weed out substandard teacher education institutions recognition of several hundred sub-standard institutions has been withdrawn during the last one year after following due process of law.

What are the opportunities and challenges that are being presented by our current education system, with special reference to teacher training ?

Teacher education system has a number of challenges and opportunities. The challenges include –

  • Experiences in the practice of teacher education indicate that knowledge is treated as ‘given’, and accepted without question; there is no practical engagement with the curriculum.

  • Language proficiency of the teacher is not satisfactory and it needs to be enhanced.

  • Teacher education programmes provide little scope for student-teachers to reflect on their experiences.

  • Disciplinary knowledge is viewed as independent of professional training in pedagogy

  • Repeated ‘practice’ in the teaching of a specified number of isolated lessons is considered a sufficient condition for professional development

  • It is assumed that links between learning theories, models and teaching methods are automatically formed in the understanding developed by student teachers

  • There is no opportunity for teachers to examine their own biases and beliefs

  • Theory courses have no clear articulation with practical works and ground realities

  • The evaluation system followed in teacher education programmes is too theoretical, excessively quantitative and lacks comprehensiveness.

The National Council for Teacher Education continues to vigorously pursue the mandate given to it by the Act of Parliament to achieve planned and coordinated development of teacher education and to regulate and maintain norms and standards in the teacher education system across the country.

In order to address these challenges NCTE has developed a new National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education – NCFTE-2009.

  • The NCFTE- 2009 presents an updated, contextual scenario in which Teacher Education needs to function and evolve.

  • Motivates a move towards professionalization of teachers

  • It has highlighted an integrative and eclectic approach to Teacher Education, aimed at empowering teachers to respond to changing contexts.

  • Presents a portrait of the teacher as someone with the ability to reflect, adapt and innovative in a range of circumstances.

  • Strongly recommends shifts towards more modern pedagogic approaches that incorporate constructivist insights as well as critical pedagogy.

  • Concerned with integrating theory with practices.

  • Need for a comprehensive course framework for an initial teacher preparation programme.

  • Indicates the importance and need for enhancing language proficiency and communication skills of teachers.

  • Emphasis on content cum pedagogy approach.

  • Suggests the idea of setting up Teacher Learning Centres, to bridge the various needs of both pre-service teacher education and in-service teacher development.

  • Both qualitative and quantitative evaluation emphasized.

Do you think collaborative partnerships under Public Private Partnership models are beneficial for the education sector? 

Has NCTE entered into any such partnerships ?Privatisation in teacher education in our country has led to large-scale commercialization. Public-private partnership model to be beneficial needs to emphasise quality improvement within the existing norms and standards of NCTE. NCTE is basically a regulatory organisation and does not conduct any teacher education programme alone or in collaborative partnership under Public Private Partnership mode.However, for professional development of working teacher educators it has entered into an MOU with INTEL Teach Programme for training of teacher educators in ICT integration in teacher education. The MOU execution is in progress.

Can you highlight some of the programmes and initiatives of NCTE that can serve as success models for other institutes offering Teacher Education.

NCTE has developed National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (2009).  Following NCFTE(2009) NCTE is in a process of developing model syllabus of teacher education at various levels and model institutional materials for student teachers at different levels. NCTE emphasises the need for integration of ICT in all teacher education programmes. Statistically speaking, can you give us brief on the numbers of teachers in-demand and in-supply, respectively, at primary, secondary and senior secondary level.

Kindly brief us about the norms and standards that you apply while providing candidates with training and evaluating the skills they gain after training.

Detailed statistics on demand and supply of teachers is being compiled and will be available for reference very shortly. The launching of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtirya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan for elementary education for universalization of secondary education has boosted the demand for teaches.  However, various State Governments, have communicated to the NCTE in view of the number of teacher education institutions in their States, that no new institutions be granted recognition by NCTE.  It is in this context that the NCTE embarked a study on “Demand and Supply” Estimates of School Teachers and Teacher Educators from 2007-08 to 2016-17 in 2007.  The feedback received from various State Governments about the requirement and availability of teachers in their States, the NCTE has decided not to grant recognition to proposed institutions in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.  A Public Notice to this effect has been issued by the NCTE.  A similar notice for some States was issued last year.  This decision to regulate further growth of teacher education institutions in several States is at present for a period of one year only but a definite decision shall be taken in respect of all the States, after the complete set of reports on the demand and supply study is available.National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (2009) highlights the skills the student-teachers are to acquire during training.  Each examining/ affiliating body develops its own curriculum for different teacher education programmes in the light of NCTE’s Curriculum Framework.

Source : Digital Learning Interview, May 2010

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