Education : An Analysis of Teachers and Teaching Standards

Development of Teacher Education

teEducation 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 knowledgeGurur 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

rteThe 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.

Anjana Antony

anjana.robin@gmail.com

RTE Act does not guarantee admission to school of choice: HC

Himachal Pradesh High Court while answering a question, “Whether children through their parents have unfettered right to choose a school, in which they wish to study?” has held that free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school as guaranteed under the RTE Act does not mean that a child has unfettered right to admission in the school of one’s choice.

In this case, the petitioner father had approached Respondent school for admitting his younger child in class 3, but was denied the admission on the ground that the child did not make a grade and therefore, could not be selected. It was claimed that Respondent school is hardly at a distance of 75 meters from his residence and as per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, his child has an unfettered right to be admitted in the school and the respondents have no discretion whatsoever to deny him admission.

The respondent-School contested the Petition and stated that it is a non-aided school and that the admissions made by it are strictly in conformity with the Act. It is further averred that the son of the petitioner had competed with the other children who were desirous of being admitted in class 3, but failed to make a grade and therefore, could not granted admission.

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The High Court of Himachal Pradesh considered the argument of the parties and disposed off the Writ Petition by observing that Section 3(i) of the Act provides that every child of the age of six to fourteen years shall have right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school till completion of elementary education ensuring that a school is available in the neighborhood and free and compulsory education in neighborhood school is available to every child of the age group to which statute applies, but then this provision, in no manner gives a right to the child or parents to pick and choose a particular school, which falls under Section 12 of the Act, except to the extent of the provisions contained in this Section read with Section 2(n) of the Act.

The Court was also of the view that any direction to admit the student belonging to non-minority, then the same would lead to an invasion of its right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution to the Schools.

The High Court was clear to observe that school’s responsibility for free and compulsory education is governed by Section 12 of the Act and sub-section 1(c) thereof provides the extent to which provisions have to be made in favour of the weaker section, disadvantaged group etc., but right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school does not include the right to insist on any school of choice under the Act. The High Court accordingly dismissed the Petition.

Class 10th pass student has right to get admitted in Class 11th in same School: Supreme Court

In a recent landmark ruling by Supreme Court, a student who has studied till Class 10th in any school has been granted the right to be admitted in Class 11th in the same school.

Though Supreme Court dismissed the Petition of a similarly placed students, due to peculiar facts and circumstance of the case, however, in landmark observation, is held as under:

“ Before parting with the order, it goes without saying that the students who study up to Class X in any school whether aided or non-aided, such students are entitled to get admission in Class XI in the same school unless he or she declines before the admission is closed. However, in which stream they are to be admitted, it depends upon their merits and performance that shall be decided by the school authority.”

In the present case, a student had filed case against a Chandigarh based private school for not giving admission in “medical stream” citing ‘low aptitude’ for the said stream, instead was offered “commerce stream”. The student being aggrieved had first approached the High Court unsuccessfully before filing SLP in Supreme Court.

EduLegaL View:

Many private school throw their Class 11th Standards open for public to attract meritorious students to improve results and standings. In this pursuit, a student having studied till class 10th in a school is denied the opportunity to continue in the School.

This Judgement echoes the larger cause of the student community. Class 11thand 12th being critical for a child’s future, it is important that a student is comfortable in the learning ecosystem. Sudden change on the basis of some aptitude test or scholastic evaluation may disturb a student, affecting his career.

However, many states in the country follow “Centralised Admission Process” for admission to class 11th. We need to understand the impact of this Judgement on such existing systems.

The Judgement is also balanced in the sense that it also entitles the School to decide the stream depending on merit and performance.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Maharashtra proposes State Assessment and Accreditation Council

Government of Maharashtra has proposed to set up State Assessment and Accreditation Council to lay down the norms and standards for schools in Maharashtra.

Earlier, in meeting of Experts on 16.04.2014, the subject was discussed and in furtherance thereof, it was decided to constitute a 16 member Committee headed by Education Commissioner, Maharashtra to lay down the road map for preparation of manual for accreditation and constitution of State Assessment and Accreditation Council.

This Committee which has wide range representation including representatives from ICSE, CBSE and IB, which will do a comparative study of norms and standards prevailing in other states and so also of National Assessment and Accreditation Council [NAAC] and will propose standards for schools in Maharashtra.

The Committee will also propose to the Government methodology to create awareness amongst the stakeholders about the assessment and accreditation and benefits which accrue to Institution and Students. The Committee has also been asked to detail the constitution, powers and functions of the proposed State Assessment and Accreditation Council. The Committee will also look into the manpower required and financial implication for operation of the proposed Council. This Committee will submit its report within 1 month.

The Report will then be studied further by an Working Committee of 11 members again headed by Education Commissioner, Maharashtra State, which will prepare the detailed manual regarding the process of assessment and accreditation.

EduLegaL View

Quality of Education, Infrastructure and Facilities to the students has been a major issue in Education System in our Council. Assessment and Accreditation is broadly used for understanding the “Quality Status” of an institution. The process of accreditation involves evaluation of curriculum, teaching-learning methods, faculty, infrastructure, learning resources and student services. This step will certainly help the school education system in Maharashtra in improving the level of education and access to students.

Maharashtra announces CSR Policy Framework for School Education

Under the New Companies Act, 2013, the provision relating to CSR provides that all the companies with at least Rs 5-crore net profit or Rs 1,000-crore turnover or Rs 500-crore network, making its mandatory for them to spend 2 per cent of the three years’ average net profit on CSR activities. Government of Maharashtra realized this opportunity and has introduced a Policy Framework to facilitate, co-ordinate and monitor Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) support and activities in the field of School Education.

This will be done by setting up a CSR Cell in the Ministry, which will act as single window for the corporates to initiate any CSR activity. The single window approach will be supported by a three Tier Structure, comprising of State Level CSR Steering Committee, Commissionerate Level CSR Committee and a Divisional Level CSR Committee.

The CSR activities have been broadly divided into three categories, which include Infrastructure and School Development, Student Development and Capacity & Capability Building of Teachers, School Management and State Institutes.

The State Level Steering Committee will facilitate action planning, decision making and resolution of issues to improve the execution of CSR support for school education in the State. It will act as a connect between the “seeker” and “provider” and vice-versa. This Committee shall also create a framework for management and facilitation of school related CSR activities and monitor and support the execution and completion of CSR activities.

The Commissionerate Level CSR Committee is mainly manifested to act a co-ordinating body for the State Level Committee. It will collect the requirements from at the divisional level and the same time monitor and approve all the time bound plans and implementation of CSR activities.

The Divisional CSR Committee in addition to monitoring the implementation of CSR Activities shall also be Responsible for publishing information regarding the requirements at various schools.

CSR initiatives are manifested generally to address various social, environmental and economic issues related to their business operations and /or the needs of the local community needs. Education, being a key driver for economic and social upliftment of communities, many companies are motivated to support educational initiatives through various ‘school related’ CSR activities.

This Policy came because of the need of the hour to create a framework to support the corporate efforts and channelize them so that they get adequate support from the government’s side and their contributions adds to the objectives of improving the school management system and the learning outcomes in schools by implementing reforms through programs at all levels. This Policy will also help in improving access and quality of education in schools.

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