Chapter # 25. Teacher Education and Training
There cannot be a quality education system without quality teachers. Therefore, a thorough revamp of the entire ecosystem of teacher education both at the school and college level is necessary. In this context, the objectives for 2022-23 include:
- Enforcing minimum teacher standards through rigorous teacher eligibility tests and criteria for the induction of teachers.
- Improving in-service teacher training system.
- Increasing teacher accountability for learning outcomes of students.
- Addressing the problem of teacher vacancies and teacher absenteeism.
The current institutional framework for teachers training consists of the following:
- The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is the regulator for teacher education in the country.
- NCTE has recognized 23,219 teacher-training institutes in the country. Around 90 per cent of these are privately run, of which 1,011 institutions1 are for training teacher-educators (M Ed). The intake of these teacher-training institutes was 17.58 lakh in 2016.
- The in-service training framework includes 592 District Institutes of Educational Training (DIETs), 112 Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs), 35 Institutes of Advanced Studies (IASEs) and 17 Block Institutes of Teacher Education (BITEs).
The block resource centres (BRCs) and cluster resource centres (CRCs) form the lowest rung of institutions providing in-service training to schoolteachers.
As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a teacher appointed in schools should have passed the teacher eligibility test (TET) conducted by the relevant government body. In institutions of higher education, passing the National Eligibility Test (NET)/State Level Eligibility test (SLET) has been the minimum eligibility criterion for teaching.
While teacher education institutes churn out a large number of candidates with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in education, the quality of teacher education has not been assured. In 2015, only 13.53 per cent candidates who sat for the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) qualified.2 A primary reason for this is inadequate accreditation and grading process followed by NCTE in the past.
In 2017, NCTE initiated the process of collecting information from the institutes and grading them based on their learning outcomes. At the higher educational level, the pass percentage in the UGC-NET exams is also low, where only 6 per cent candidates qualify. Besides, the quality of PhDs in severals institutions does not rise to the required standard.
In-service teacher training needs upgradation. While only about 20 per cent of school teachers are still professionally untrained,3 only 14.9 per cent teachers received in-service training for elementary education in 2015-16 even though the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has a provision of 20 days of in-service training for all teachers. The BRCs and CRCs are primarily involved in administrative work and provide very little resource support to schools.
In 2017, Section 23(2) of the RTE Act was amended to ensure that all teachers acquire minimum qualifications prescribed under the Act by March 31, 2019.
To assess the performance and progress of teachers, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had developed performance indicators (PINDICS) in 2013. Fourteen states have adopted or adapted the PINDICS and two more have initiated its implementation thus far.
Teacher vacancies are also affecting the quality of education. Out of the total sanctioned posts of 51.03 lakhs, the number of working teachers is 42.03 lakhs, leading to vacancies of 9 lakh teachers in schools, of which 4.2 lakh teacher vacancies are in SSA schools.
Thirty-three per cent of schools do not meet the pupil-teacher ratio. Ironically, despite the overall shortage of teachers, there are also 2.91 lakh surplus teachers across the country because of an imbalance in regional demand-supply.4
Teacher attendance at schools is another issue of concern. A study shows that 25 per cent of teachers were absent from school, and only half were teaching during an unannounced visit as part of a national representative sample survey of government primary schools in India.5
- There is insufficient regulatory monitoring of teacher education institutions.
- Teacher eligibility tests in some states may not be adequately robust.
- There are inadequate in-service training programmes as well as lack of public funding support.
- There is no robust system for balancing the demand for and supply of teachers at the regional or state level.
- There are limited accountability systems for teachers.
Strengthening the regulatory framework
- A committee should be set up to develop transparent/objective and rigorous criteria to recognize institutions. NCTE may assess institutions on these criteria and take steps to enforce them.
- In addition, the accreditation system developed should ensure the closure of fraudulent or dysfunctional teacher education institutions.
- Five to six teacher training institutions of eminence with an annual intake of 2000 students each need to be established.
Robust in-service teacher development
- In-service teacher professional development programmes should be redesigned with continuous progressive development through different modes such as early tenure coaching, peer-learning, resource centres, demonstration classes, sabbaticals for research/advanced studies, seminars and visits to other institutions.
- The Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission for Teachers & Teaching, which seeks to “build a strong professional cadre of teachers by setting performance standards and creating top class institutional facilities for the professional development of teachers”6, should be taken up in mission mode.
Accountability of teachers
- A national electronic teacher registry should be set up as part of the National Education Registry that has been proposed in the section on school education. The entire educational profile of each teacher aspirant may be hosted in one section of this registry by all teacher-training institutions.
- This will be an electronic platform to bring together employers and job aspirants in this sector. All teachers should be listed on the National Educational Registry by 2020, while linking students to teachers.
- Performance Indicators (PINDICS), 2013, and the Quality Monitoring Tools of NCERT should be adopted or adapted by states/UTs.
Universal monitoring of teachers’ competencies should be done using PINDICS or any such state developed tool on an annual basis and uploaded on the National Electronic Teacher Registry. The salary increment of teachers should be linked to an assessment of their performance.
- States should test teachers tri-annually on the same test designed for the children they are teaching. It will ensure competency of teachers in the subjects being taught by them.
- The Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) accross states should be strenthened as per central TET: standardization of results, quality benchmarking of testing-items and extending the TET for teachers at pre-school and classes 9-12 levels.
- The UGC-recognised NET/SLET should be continued as a minimum eligibility criterion for recruitment to Assistant Professor positions. States that currently do not conduct SLET should do so to enable availability of a larger base of qualified candidates for faculty positions. Eligibility tests should ensure quality in selection.
Tackling teacher demand-supply imbalance
- Each state must develop a teacher-demand forecast model for all levels, starting from elementary to higher education. The surplus and deficiency can be aggregated at the national level and appropriate decisions taken on whether to set up new training institutions or provide leverage to existing ones to correct overall deficiencies.