Development of Teacher Education
Education in India is long documented and has seen a constant growth from the days of the gurukul system. Historically the guru was the epitome of knowledge “Gurur Bhrama, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara, Guru Sakshat Parabramha, Tasmayashree Gurur Namaha,”. The guru was seen as as the manifestation of the lord himself, which encompasses the guru as a guide, expert, master in his field of expertise. He or she was seen as a counsellor who would help mould values and be a source of inspiration in the physical, social, emotional evolution of child. The oldest reference of schooling system are found in the Vedas, where gurukul was the temple of education.
The Modern Education
The advent of the Mughal dynasties, followed by the British education system completely altered the way teachers conducted the teaching. It did bring about a new age perspective to it, however it also eliminated the age old gurukul system in a slow and gradual process. The importance of a structured and approved education system was established with the primary aim to produce support staff. The teachings standards were very high and the teachers competent and importantly respected in the society. This continued till the independence and for the next few decades. The remarkable aspect of this system was that education was restricted to a certain segment of the society and hence the available infrastructure , teaching faculty was complementing the system. The economic growth of the nation brought about important changes and one among them was “education to all”.
A far cry from the previous era where education was the preserve of the few elite, the rapid strides of the nation brought about the need for more and more educated youths to work in the ever increasing industries. The education sector and in particular teacher education felt the pressure of the new demands, the need for English education and private schooling led to a proliferation of teacher training institutes and teaching as a career saw its decline and became a secondary career for those who could not make it in to the main stream job market.
The present day situation has completely transformed the divine perspective of education making it a commercial enterprise, it is no longer a process of acquisition and transmission. According to Adi Shankaracharya “A teacher is one who is endowed with the power of furnishing arguments and understanding the questions of students, the teacher possesses tranquillity, self control, compassion and desire to help others, he is one versed in shruti text and unattached to pleasure his sole aim is to help others and impart knowledge”.The development of education system over the centuries from Ancient, through Medieval and then to modern times shows a significant shift towards teaching as a profession. The social standing of people who pursue education as a profession has reduced in comparison to other professions. The availability of jobs in ITES sector and Hospitality offer more compensation than the teaching profession where the qualifications required are much higher.
The post independence history of teacher education has shown a steady decline where other professions are in front line. Over the past three decades there has been a continuous deterioration in teaching as a profession and teacher education. Teaching has turned out to be the resort of the last in the order of merit. The desire of every parent to see his child channelised to the professions like medicine, engineering and government service has left teaching to a secondary career. The profession has been pushed in the list of the least lucrative professions, the problem has become more acute where teaching as a career does not exist and it is assuming the status of a supplementary career mostly limiting itself to housewives who pursue BEd through correspondence in Open Universities and then assume the onerous task of teaching the children of this nation.
The policies of the government which desires education to be accessible to one and all irrespective of the biases existing . This does not take into account the quality of teachers who are being recruited to achieve this vision of “sarv shiksha abhiyan”. A study of this once holy profession across small towns to large cities reveal the same pattern where there is a proliferation of Government and English medium private Schools with faculties whose basic credentials are questionable, leading to introspect the quality of education which these teachers impart to the pupils. This aspect brings about two particular dimensions to our existing education system, Firstly mushrooming of coaching institutes to support those students in their quest for education, high end faculty help students in clarifying basic doubts to concepts which ideally should have been handled by their school teachers. It has given rise to a parallel education network which is supplementing education provided by regular schools. Secondly, The recent studies reveal that the graduates we produce are not employable as they lack basic skills. It reinforces the fact that our education system needs an overhaul.
THE WAY FORWARD
The Right to Education as a tool of empowerment The Constitution’s (eighty sixth amendment) Act 2002 inserted article 21A to the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education up to the age of 6 to 14 years as a Fundamental Right. Right to Education 2009 implies full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school that satisfies certain norms and standards. This has come into effect from 01 April 2010. The Act significantly highlights the following aspects:
(a) Free and compulsory education till completion of elementary stage.
(b) Specifies duties of appropriate government authorities to lay down norms and standards relating to pupil teacher ratio, infrastructure, school working days , teacher working hours.
(c) Provides for rational for deployment of teachers only in census and election duties.
(d) Provide for appointment of appropriate trained teachers and teachers with apt qualification.
(e) Prohibition of physical punishment and mental harassment.
(f) Prohibition of screening for admission for children and capitation fee.
(g) Prohibition of private tuition by teachers.
The economic and social development of the country cannot be achieved by merely passing laws and statues but to take concrete steps in a phase wise manner to regulate teacher education in the country. One of the foremost step to be taken is implementation of the NCTE Act 1993 in letter and spirit throughout India. The need for grass root reforms to maintain the quality of intake in the pre service programmes and effort be made to develop teacher education institutions on the lines of IITs, IIMs and in the recent times the emergence of National Law Schools, where a common admission test be conducted on a nationwide basis to attract the best inputs into teaching and aid in achieving higher standards of education. An effective audit cum survey of the educational institutions under SSA to encompass rural, semi urban and urban areas to culminate into grading of institutions by NAAC like body. This could be done within a definite period of establishment of an institution and at subsequent periodical intervals to encourage performance linked appreciation.
A concerted effort on the part of Government to ensure that remuneration offered to teachers particularly in private educational institutions are at par with other professions, along with Dignity, Respect, and Self esteem of the teachers.
Teacher education should turn out to be an encounter of identification and invention of teacher training procedure that produced desired behaviour in prospective teachers a scaffolding of future teachers can only ensure a strong teaching faculty that can in turn groom the future of India into intellectually, socially, emotionally, and ethically strong individuals and citizens.