EDITORIAL

 

MANAGEMENT OF TEACHER EDUCATION

 

Sunil Behari Mohanty

INTRODUCTION

Management of teacher education is a difficult task because of the fact that there are large numbers of variables in teacher education programmes including variations in the purpose for which persons join teacher training courses of various levels. There are four types of teacher education institutions: (a) government managed, (b) examining body managed, (c) government aided and privately managed and (d) self-financed and privately managed. While certain States do not have any private teacher training institution, there are other States that have large numbers of self-financed private teacher training recognised institutions. Many States do not have examining bodies for pre-school teacher education. 

 

GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS FOR TEACHER EDUCATION

Department of Elementary Education & Literacy of the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India is the apex body that looks after policy for teacher education. Its agencies include National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and National University for Educational Planning & Administration (NUEPA).  NCERT has five Regional Institutes of Education. They  conduct  CPD programmes  for school  teachers and four of them conduct initial teacher training courses - Two Year B. Ed. and Four Year Integrated courses and one year M.Ed. (Elementary) courses. Certain Central Universities also run initial teacher training courses and also courses for teacher educators. There are also a few other Central Government Organisations such as CIEFL, Hyderabad; and KHS, Agra; which run teacher education programmes. University Grants Commission is also involved with Departments of Teacher Education or Departments of Education in the Universities and Institutions Deemed to be Universities and Colleges of Teacher Education. There are Sanskrit language teacher training institutions run by Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi; Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi, and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati. Besides, MHRD, there are also other ministries that have institutions which run teacher training programmes. Ministry of Women and Child Development has a large net work of training of Anganwadi workers, who take care of pre-school component.

 

At the State level, the apex body that looks after teacher education is the Government Department of Education. In certain States, it is looked after by the Department of School Education. A few States have independent Directorates for Teacher education. In a few others, the Directorate and SCERT function under one Director. The teacher training institutions offering programmes for elementary and pre-school teachers are in many states under the control of the Department of School Education, whereas the teacher training institutions offering degree courses are under the Department of Higher Education. In certain States all teacher education institutions are managed by the State government. In certain other States, majority of teacher training institutions are managed by private agencies under self-financed category.  At the State levels, there are   teacher training institutions being run by the Departments of Tribal Welfare,   and other administrative departments. Creation of separate cadre for teacher educators has been an important issue to be solved in many states.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING   QUALITY 

A few strategies for improving the status of management of teacher education are as follows:


Establishing Model Teacher Education Institutions by the Central Government in Each State

As part of the strategy to improve quality of teacher education many Institutes of Advanced Study in Education, Colleges of Teacher Education and District Institutes of Education are functioning in the country. It has been found that in a large number of cases, this is an example of wastage of funds. If the Central Government is genuinely interested in improving teacher quality, it may start its own teacher education institutions and discontinue with the present scheme. These institutions may need to have academic autonomy. 

 

Making Teacher Training Institutions Non-Vacational

If the teacher training institutions are to carry out in-service programs, they might have to be non-vocational, similar to the practice followed in the Regional Institutions of Education of NCERT. In this case, the concerned employers have to give proportionate earned leave to their employees as applicable for the non teaching employees of the concerned State governments. When the students are not in the campus, the faculty members can organise seminars and conferences on different themes, undertake report writing of the work they have undertaken earlier and can undertake inservice education programmes for school teachers and other activities.

 

Encouragement for Formation of Associations of Teacher Training Institutions

National Policy on Education 1986 had suggested networking of teacher education institutions. This can be facilitated by promoting formation of associations of teacher education institutions for each of the types of programmes at different levels.

 

Encouragement for Teacher Education Complexes 

At present, there are mainly three types of teacher education institutions catering to the needs of teachers of pre-primary, elementary and secondary stages. Linking of teacher education institutions of various stages can facilitate teacher educators to learn from each other. Teacher training institutions not offering   degree level courses generally, have fewer materials on educational technology, psychological tests and books and journals than found in case of secondary teacher training institutions. Linkage of these institutions can ensure optimum utilisation of resources. Linkage  may take care of inadequate amount of daily work found in case of posts such as physical education teacher, art teacher, craft teacher, etc.  The head of the complex may be given certain financial support at least for organising complex faculty meetings, disseminating information brochures, etc. and for conducting seminars, workshops, etc. Selected institutions may need to be strengthened for the purpose.

 

Making Provision for Follow up Studies and Follow up Activities

Follow up studies indicate the extent to which a teacher training programme has been successful in terms of its application in the field situation.  Every teacher training institution may need to carry out follow up studies not only to evaluate their programmes but also to realise the extent to which it has been able to make their product continue as school teacher. In the light of findings, the teacher training provider may modify its curriculum.  Such follow up studies are also necessary for in-service education programs.

 

Establishment of Resource Centres for Teacher Education 

Formation of National Resource Centre for Teacher Education and State Resource Centres for Teacher Education can boost the efforts to improve the quality of teacher education. These resource centres may carry out following activities:

 

Facilitating CPD of Teacher Educators

Teacher educators can be helped to become aware of recent developments in training techniques, innovations in teacher education in India and abroad. They may be helped by getting a list of the web sites and an index of materials that each web site contains. The Internet sites may help them in their lifelong effort to continuously update their knowledge and awareness of various types of skills and approaches employed in teacher training in India and abroad.

 

Facilitating Updating of Initial Training Courses and CPD Programmes for Teachers

The institutions that provide teacher training may be made aware of developments that have been taking place from time to time to cope with the developments in ICT and also developments in school curriculum. They may be made aware of what their counterparts in developed countries are doing in case of initial as well as continued teacher training. This is necessary especially, at the present juncture, when a significant number of persons having teacher training qualifications acquired in India are going abroad and the Indian teacher-training programme can be comparable to the standard in developed countries. The examining bodies prepare various courses of study for different types of teacher training programmes. They may be supported by providing reports of comparative studies of curricula, list of reference books and suggested reading materials, etc. The aspects, on which the teacher trainees are assessed for a particular course, varies from one State to another State and even in one State, from one examining body to another. Often the difference is too much. There is variation in aspects such as:  duration of assessment of a particular task, duration of observation of teaching for assessment, and qualifications necessary to act as an examiner. Such variations are not intentional and often are due to ignorance. These may need to be tabulated and comparative analysis of these variations should be made public so that there can be efforts to have improved assessment strategies. A resource centre may make available in its web site as well as in print format, synthesis of recommendations of all the seminars/conferences/workshops organised by the teacher education institutions in India.   A data base may be made available on surveys of research conducted by teacher education institutions. Universities, research guides, research referees and research scholars may be asked to communicate the abstracts of the research studies. The data base may be updated as and when the abstracts are received. The resource centre may develop and maintain research capacity building network including action research and may give support to instructional/individual level researches in teacher education. It may make available networking arrangement amongst all the teacher education Institutions having E-mail IDs to facilitate availability of learning resources.

 

The resource centres may help experts involved in preparation of norms by providing them norms found in developed countries.   Examining body wise analysis of scenario of teacher education courses and programmes in various States may help. Web sites of resource centres may provide an international scenario of teacher education courses and programmes and teacher licensing system, teacher evaluation system and accreditation procedures for teacher education courses and programmes in various developed countries and the data shall be updated periodically. There may be data in respect of comparative analysis of the situation prevailing in States. The resource centres may develop and make available an e-directory of the tools and tests for teacher education to facilitate their utilization. It should create and make available an e-directory of compatible quality learning resources (books and journals) for teacher education institutions and should make available computer based tests for admission into various programs of teacher education.

 

The portal of the  national  level resource centres may provide  facilities for (i) On-line survey and data search - topic wise and author wise, (ii) Free text search, and (iii) project area search, (iv) A net work to encourage communication between teacher educators and teacher trainees and for providing a forum for exchange of ideas among teacher educators and other professionals, (v) Linkage with other agencies involved in promotion of school teaching and teacher education in India and abroad, etc. It may also provide indexes of topics in different books of a standard quality, web sites of different organisations and associations involved in school education and teacher education, journals on teacher education and school education, lists of recognised persons as principals of various levels of institutions and a list of teacher educators with their fields of specialisation.

 

Bringing All Types of Teacher Education Programmes to University Level

Education Commission 1964-66 (Art 4.10, P. 129) pointed out the necessity of bringing all teacher education courses to higher education level. It stated that:

 “Teachers for the different stages of education or for special subjects are now trained in separate courses and in separate institutions.  The training institutions for pre-primary and primary teachers have the status of lower secondary schools only, in terms of qualifications and remuneration of the staff or the scale of contingent expenditure.  There is also a total separation between training institutions for secondary school teachers and those for primary and pre-primary teachers. An important reform, therefore, would be to raise the status of training institutions for pre-primary and primary teachers to a collegiate standard and to end the fragmentation of teacher education which results in weakness at each level and greatly reduces the effectiveness of the programme as a whole. ”

Even after four decades of this recommendation, it is necessary that all teacher education programmes need to be provided at the university level institutions. It is recommended that the Principals of DIETs should be at par with the status of the Principal of a Degree College. To start with, all the DIETs can start degree courses in teacher education for primary and pre-school teachers and can be affiliated to the universities. This up gradation can be part of the Central Government scheme of SSA and also scheme for improving quality of teacher education.

 

Banning Utilisation of   Faculty Member of Face to Face Mode   to be Available for Distance Mode

The distance education programmes utilise not only the buildings, but also faculty members of teacher training institutions. This practice does not allow faculty members of face to face mode institutions utilise their holidays for preparation for training their own teacher trainees.  Hence, faculty members of face to face mode teacher training institutions should not be utilised for distance mode programmes. Distance education programmes should involve their own personnel for the purpose. They can take help of retired persons.

 

Encouraging Establishment of Comprehensive Colleges of Education

Education Commission 1964-66 recommended establishment of comprehensive colleges of education. It said that:

“Colleges should be established wherever possible to prepare teachers for several stages of education and /or for a number of special fields. Some institutions of this type already exist and have shown good results. What is now needed is a planned attempt to develop more institutions of this type and to add sections for training primary and/or pre-primary teachers to training colleges that now prepare teachers for secondary schools only. ” (Art.4.12, P.130)

The establishment of comprehensive colleges may reduce the cost of teacher education.

 

Making Provision for Teacher Educators to act as Honorary Academic Supervisors of School Teachers 

There are State Government institutions, where a faculty member teaches for less than three hours a week. This is the example of worst kind of wastage of human resources. If the teacher educators can be declared as honorary academic supervisors of school teachers indicating their areas, the heads of the teacher institution may engage faculty members in observation and giving feedback of school teaching or in preparation of teacher support materials. Faculty Members may observe lessons of school teachers and may finalise their findings after discussion with concerned teacher.  Later, they may convey the findings to concerned regular supervisors and heads of schools. Carrying out evaluation of schools and giving feedback to school teachers may help in improving the teaching skills of the faculty members of initial teacher training institutions. This may strengthen existing supervisory mechanism existing for schools. This may help the faculty members having inadequate weekly work load get adequate amount of work. Concerned authorities in charge of supervision may bear the travel cost of the teacher educators from their institutions to schools and back.

 

Encouraging Formation of State Boards for Teacher Education 

The Education Commission 1964-66 stated that  “… each State Government should establish a State Board of Teacher education, which should work in collaboration with the State Institute of education,” (Art. 10.53, P.474) State Boards of teacher education may  be instituted in each State. These may take charge of developing and conducting admission tests for admission into teacher education courses and can also develop State level standards for teacher education as well as for school teachers.

 

Carrying out Continuous Evaluation of Initial Teacher Training Curricula

Any curriculum needs to be evaluated at intervals.  The renewal process should be involved in getting rid of the content and processes that have become in course of time obsolete. Course of study is only one aspect of the curriculum. Evaluation is a process of systematic and critical analysis leading to judgments and or recommendation for improving the curriculum. Curricular evaluation process generally involves all the stake holders such as teacher trainees, ex-teacher trainees, teacher educators, peers working in other types of teacher education programmes, school inspectors and supervisors, educational administrators and even members of community.

 

Increasing Stress on School Experience

School experience is the pivot of initial teacher training programs. Duration of school teaching experience varies from nation to nation and even from one examining body to another in a nation. Some systems prescribe number of lessons. In India, most of the examining bodies, do not prescribe any duration for school experience. There are occasions, when the duration is restricted to only 2 weeks. Most of the examining bodies prescribe minimum number of lessons to be delivered. Minimum number is generally the standard. The number of lessons in case of secondary initial teacher training course of one year duration, in each of the two method subjects varies between 10 and 20. In case of two year course, it is 28 lessons in each of the two subjects, in case of one examining body. Duration of school experience in case of a few other nations was: France 14 weeks out of 60 weeks course in IUPM, Netherlands 20 weeks in a secondary course of 48 weeks and 40 weeks in a 4 year course. In USA, there is also “Two year residency” made available under Teachers for a New Era (TNE) project being implemented by the Carnegie Corporation (Kirby, et al, 2006, p. xix).  Weightage for school experience, in one-year courses for graduates for teaching in secondary schools, in one year PGCE courses of England is 50%, whereas in case of India, in one year B. Ed. course, it is as low as 15%. Hence, in the present era of globalization, it may be necessary for appropriate examining bodies to increase school teaching experience in their initial teacher training programmes.

 

Improving Quality of School Support for Teacher Training

The special nature of job of the teachers of the schools utilised for practical work of teacher trainees may require special training. Such teachers may need to be more skilled than ordinary schoolteachers. The teacher trainees are generally slower than regular teachers in covering course. A number of teacher trainees may even teach wrong content. Hence, the teachers of these schools need to be more effective than the teachers in other types of schools. There may be an official order, if necessary by State act, empowering the State Governments to attach a specified number of schools to the proposed teacher education institution. The remuneration amount may be fixed by each State Government. Besides the remuneration for concerned school teachers, every school to which teacher trainees are deputed may get an amount to be utilised by the concerned schools for purchase of books, educational journals and equipment.

 

Carrying out Continuous Evaluation of Teacher Education Institutions and Their Programmes

Evaluation process may be internal and external. Internal evaluation generally precedes external evaluation. The findings of internal evaluation can form the base for external evaluation.  NCTAF, USA (2004) stated that

High quality teacher preparation programs are accountable to others, and must hold themselves accountable for performance that is measured and evaluated qualitatively across the board. Key measures of quality include the quality and academic preparation of students recruited to the program; how these recruits are doing as they move through general education after they come to the University; how graduates impact the performance of their own PreK-12 students; and how well support for new teacher graduates prevents or reduces teacher turnover. (NCTAF, USA, 2004, p.10)

Appropriate agencies in India may need to carry out evaluation at  intervals of two to three years.

 

INDUCTION PROGRAMS

In advanced systems, teacher-training course is not considered adequate for providing practical experience. “A number of studies show that new teachers’ careers can be influenced by their experiences in the early years of professional practice. A supportive school and/or department appear to be the strongest positive influence on career development.” (Wilson, et al, 2006, p.48). A product of teacher training institution is attached to an effective teacher (mentor) for a specific period. During the period of attachment, the trainee receives reduced workload and carries out teaching work under guidance. The said trainee is evaluated a number of times. Induction programs are generally school based programs. However, in countries like Israel, induction programs are run by teacher colleges and the academic school of education. Nations have been making attempts to improve the quality of the induction programs for beginning teachers. Since September 2007, a new set of standards are in vogue in UK.  These include a reduction of 10 per cent in teaching timetable in relation to the other teachers in your school, which is  in addition to the guaranteed minimum 10 per cent timetabled teaching time for planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time that all teachers receive (TDA, UK, 2007, p.3). Standards are available in 5 sections - 1. Developing professional and constructive relationships; 2. Working within the Law and Frameworks; 3. Professional knowledge and understanding (Pedagogic practice and Promoting children and young people's development and well being); 4. Professional skills (Planning and assessment and teaching) and 5. Developing practice. Benefits offered by the Teacher Induction Scheme of UK (Scotland) for eligible probationers include: a guaranteed one year training post, a maximum class commitment of 0.7 full time equivalent, dedicated time set aside for professional development, access to an experienced teacher as a nominated probationer supporter, a consistently high quality probation experience, and a good salary which compares well with other professions. The alternative route involves: supply teaching or completing temporary service in Scottish state schools, teaching in the independent sector, choosing to complete the probationary period outside Scotland, gathering service in exceptional circumstances, and this route takes 270 days to complete. Britton, et al (2003) found that peers play effective role in induction programs in China and Japan.  Formal induction programs are not found in many countries.  These programs not only produce better skilled teachers but also provide helping hands in schools to take care of classes when teachers are on leave and reduce the burden of over burdened teachers. The added responsibility makes teachers working as mentors improve their own standard to show examples to the beginners. A number of countries have prescribed standards for mentors. As there is payment as well as prestige attached to this, there may be initiatives among teachers to update themselves in knowledge as well as in skills of teaching. Nations going to introduce this system need to develop a good system of mentor selection and make provision for continuous updating of knowledge and skills of mentors.

 

CONCLUSION

Management of teacher education is a difficult task, especially at the present juncture where teacher education programmes are being delivered by a large number of unaided private teacher education institutions. These institutions are also not sure of their tenure, as in near future; possibility of huge unemployment of trained persons may result in drastic fall in enrolment figures. The surviving institutions can only be helped by appropriate authorities in improving quality of their management.

 

REFERENCES

Britton, e. et al (2003) Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Systems for Early Career Learning. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

Kirby, S. N. et al (2006) Reforming Teacher Education: Something Old,  Something New.  Rand Corporation, Santa Monica.

Kothari, D. S. (1966) Chairman) Report of the Education Commission 1964-66. Govt. of India, New Delhi

NCTAF, USA (2004) High Quality Teacher Preparation – Higher Education’s Crucial Role.

Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York

TDA, UK (2007) Supporting Induction Process: TDA Guidance for Newly Qualified Teachers. Govt. of   UK, London.

Wilson, V. et al ( 2006) Developing Teachers: A Review of Early Professional Learning. General

Teaching Council of Scotland, Edinburgh.