A critical assessment of India’s stand in improving educational quality

The Indian Government has recognized the need to enhance the educational quality of pre- and in-service teacher skills. The District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) has made structural innovation in terms of creating teacher’s training programmes (B.Ed, D.Ed, M.Ed) which offer systemic responsiveness to local requirements and skill expectations. Despite the efforts, there has been a significant shortfall in the ecological viability of the teachers who have undergone formal training as per regulatory requirements.

The goal of education, especially in the secondary and higher secondary is slowly transitioning from inculcating cognitive abilities to providing practical and sustainable skills for employability and economic development. Educational quality widens the perspective and information bank is seen as a key ingredient in developing skills related to critical thinking, decision making, problem-solving and innovation (Babu & Choudhary, 2016). Secondary and higher education is implementing technology, which needs to be harboured effectively by the teaching staff, there is a need to equip educators with adequate skill and knowledge to improve educational quality.

The Government is set to undertake stringent steps to enhance the skills and knowledge bank among teachers. While the mandate of compulsory B.Ed (Bachelor in Education), D.Ed., (Diploma in Education) and M.Ed., (Master in Education) for qualifying as a secondary and higher secondary teacher exists, the Ministry of Education continues to explore opportunities for enhancement of technical skills (Dalmia, 2016). This report understands the regulatory changes brought within the system and analyses the effectiveness of the steps taken by Government with respect to enhancing educational skills among teachers through the training courses such as B.Ed., D.Ed., and M.Ed.

Government policies to improve educational quality and their effectiveness from a global perspective

The National Council of teacher education (NCTE) looks into all information related to teacher’s training and development. There have been many policy implementations to enhance the skills and knowledge of in-service teachers such as:

  • 20 days of training per year under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme (SSA).
  • An online portal which provides content which can be used as virtual assistant in the classroom.
  • Professional development programmes (Diksha).
  • New methods of in-service training (mentor-ship, shadow opportunities, Teacher activity groups (TAGs)) etc.
  • Restructuring of DIET to create relevant curricula for teachers’ professional development which support their ability to implement tech education, support innovation and research etc., (National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training & Research, 2016) (Department of School Education and Literacy, 2010).

Apart from the above, as per Dyer, et al., (2004), there has been a substantial investment to enhance the role of technology in education. The National Policy of information and communication technology (ICT) in school education plans to implement technology within the school system including the curriculum. Mission mode project (MMP) has been initiated to provide ICT skills to all staff employed within the school premises including teaching, non-teaching staff, heads/promoters of school and students (Babu & Choudhary, 2016).

There are directives passed by the Ministry of Education to train teaching staff to develop e-content and integrate ICT as a virtual assistant while imparting knowledge. Furthermore, there are also non-teaching initiatives such as e-governance and re-evaluation of examination to reduce manual error and increase operational efficiency (Babu & Choudhary, 2016).

The directives initiated by the Ministry of education in the Indian education policies in terms of teacher training can be compared with similar policies adopted in other economies, given the rising Indian stand in the International domain. Many nations have been able to develop engagement programs for teaching profession which enable effective implementation of educational technology in secondary and higher secondary education. Furthermore, in many European countries, teaching as a profession offers great pay and growth prospects (British Council, 2015) (Jonaki & Prasenjit, 2015) which attracts the best talent. Attracting the right talent will enable implementation of changes effectively.

There are many challenges that India faces with respect to the implementation of educational technology skills in educators, one of the key challenges arises due to the size of the Indian education system. Indian secondary and higher education system is ranked third in size only after the US and China, the Indian education system is complex due to the geographic vastness, diversity of culture, socio-economic disparity etc., The secondary and higher education system in India is modelled differently as compared to other countries, the system is quite archaic and stringent which offers very less flexibility to both teacher and the student. Apart from this, the massive scale of operation in India, there have been significant challenges in the implementation of uniform policy directives.

Areas that require attention and improvement

While the Indian Government has consistently worked towards strengthening the Indian education system, there are problems in the uniform implementation of policies. Some of which are highlighted below (Educational initiatives, 2009) (Shaguri, 2013) (Bambawale, et al., 2018):

Lack of required talent to scale up skillset/knowledge: Teaching in India has often not been the primary choice of profession. It has not been able to attract the best of talent and skill due to its inability to provide adequate motivation both monetary and non-monetary. Even the most established Private schools do not match the pay-scale of teaching professionals of other nations. Government institutions fall grossly short of providing competent growth path and pay-scale. This has been a deterrent in being able to scale-up the educators with required skills/knowledge base to effectively implement changes. Many other countries have been able to attract the best talent which enables them to implement changes in training modules for educators efficiently.

Inability to effectively implement policies and address challenges: While the Government launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) initiative to provide in-service training, it has remained unsuccessful due to ineffective implementation. The school system employs 8.3 million teachers, of which only 31. 45% of Government school teachers received training (2013 – 14; DISE), many private school teachers do not insist on availing the SSA training. Multiple challenges were encountered while conducting the training sessions, which have not been effectively addressed.

The lower number of centres with excellent pre-service training: There are over 18,000+ teacher’s training institutes which cater to a demand approximating to 13 lakh seats per year. This is a fragmented system which lacks uniformity and educational quality in terms of curriculum. There are very few centres of excellence pertaining to teacher’s training. In the year 2014, only 6% of the 7 lakh qualified teachers who appeared for teacher eligibility test could pass the exam. It has been brought to the notice of Central policymakers, that the curriculum lacks rigour and accountability. Some of the other countries insist on undergoing rigorous and obtaining state license to practice teaching.

Lack of continuous teacher evaluation system: There is no concrete/uniform methodology based on which teachers are consistently evaluated, based on the ever-changing environment of the Indian education system’s objectives. Although CBSE  Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has now made it mandatory for a teacher evaluation test, this is not comprehensive and continuous. Many nations have established a standard evaluation system to ensure that educational quality is not compromised and the skills of educators are aligned with the requirement of the education system.

The Government has understood the importance of building a more rigorous skill engagement program for teachers who can effectively implement and promote technology in secondary and higher education. Engaging a committee which can promote professional agency within the teaching profession would strengthen the pursuit of improving educational quality and enable decentralisation.

References

  • Babu, J. & Choudhary, S. K., (2016) New Education Policy Consultation, Delhi: Vikas pedia.
  • Bambawale, M., Hughes, J. & Lightfoot, A., (2018) Exploring teacher evaluation processes and practices in India: A case study, Delhi: British Council.
  • British Council, (2015) Continuous Professional Development of Teachers: Focus of core skills pedagogy, Delhi: UK Aid.
  • Dalmia, N., (2016) Investigating Challenges in Teacher Development, Delhi: Central Square Foundation.
  • Department of School Education and Literacy, (2010) School Education, Delhi: MHRD.
  • Dyer, C. et al., (2004) Knowledge for teacher development in India: the importance of ‘local knowledge’ for in-service education. International Journal of Educational Development, 24(1), pp. 39-52.
  • Educational initiatives, (2009) Capacity building for teachers. Educational initiatives, 1 Apr.
  • Jonaki, B. & Prasenjit, P., (2015) Higher Education in India: Recent Issues and Trends. Research Journal of Educational Sciences, 4(1), pp. 10-16.
  • National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training & Research, (2016) MHRD. [Online]
    Available at: http://mhrd.gov.in/national-institute-technical-teachers-training-research-2
    [Accessed 11 Jul 2018].
  • Shaguri, O. R., (2013) HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA, delhi: EAN World Congress Scholar.

Priya Chetty

Partner at Project Guru
Priya is a master in business administration with majors in marketing and finance. She is fluent with data modelling, time series analysis, various regression models, forecasting and interpretation of the data. She has assisted data scientists, corporates, scholars in the field of finance, banking, economics and marketing.

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