New Approaches to Teacher Pre-Service Training

Here’s an article that many may have missed from Times of India last month, setting out some markers for where the government (through NCTE – National College of Teacher education) plan to take the courses that prepare people to join the teaching profession;

Times of India Article – NCTE Revamp

I would fully agree that the systems and processes by which teachers are prepared for the profession need major overhaul – I have argued for some years that the B.Ed qualification particularly needs a complete overhaul to make it relevant to the professional requirements of twenty first century teachers. However, I have reservations when it is suggested that the courses are to be linked directly to the new national curriculum as this would suggest training that still has as its major starting premise that teaching is about the ‘stuff’ more than it is about facilitating learning processes and understanding the needs of each individual learner.

The last sentence is quite telling. It suggests that, in the past, when ‘the powers that be’ have sought to impose solutions, then there has been such strong resistance that the changes have not been able to proceed. However, in these post-RTE days, the suggestion made is that anything can now be imposed on anybody and all in the education profession must roll over and accept whatever change is done to them. I sincerely hope that wisdom will prevail and that such dictatorial behaviour will not be tolerated, condoned or endorsed from the HRD Ministry.

Where objections or alternative ideas come from those who have the best interests of children and the education system as their primary motivation then they will be given fair hearing and the ideas taken on board. Another worrying trend after the Supreme Court judgement on Right to Education Act is for media to pander to the government by suggesting that those who argued against RTE did so out of petty self-interest, elitism and greed. This is incredibly insulting to a lot of highly intelligent, passionate and caring educators whose issues with the Act came from their care for children and desire to contribute to an effective education system. Let’s not forget that the Supreme Court ruling was NOT a judgement about the educational wisdom of the Act, but simply a ruling on the constitutional right of the government to impose certain responsibilities on private unaided schools.

I really hope that there will still be an intelligent public debate on the educational and societal merits of what government is seeking to do, both in child education and teacher education. These are things that should matter to every citizen and are far too important to be left to politicians!!

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