Teacher development is the challenging face of education system in India

Teacher education and development is certainly gaining ground across government-recognized boards of education. Reflective practices are encouraged and channelized to support and enhance student learning while also creating a level-playing field for everyone. However, it is important to understand the inherent problems faced with regard to ‘Teacher Education’ in India.

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The Great Indian Education Challenge: Preparing for the Future with a forward-looking approach

To begin with, we must realize that India is a young country which has more than 50% of its population under the age of 25. Out of this, over 15 crore people are aged 7 years or below – which is more than a quarter of our young population. If you look at it that way, these young and dynamic children in the coming two decades will be joining our workforce as vibrant professionals, as policymakers, scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, sportspersons, farmers, blue-collar workers, politicians… and even as criminals.

It is the path that we build for them right now that they will be soon choosing and treading on. In shaping the future of a student, a teacher plays the most predominant role. A number of teachers with different specializations gauge the proclivity of a student, understand their capability, and provide him or her the right training to deliver the most optimal results. Sadly, the case is very different in India, where the quality of the teacher itself is in question. According to a report by CII-KPMG, outdated curriculum, low teacher quality, and lack of accounting and monitoring mechanisms were found as the biggest stumbling blocks in India’s education system. And when the case is so, we can’t expect the apple to fall very far from the tree.

However, it is not just as if the teachers are at fault here. The individual administrations – at macroscopic and microscopic levels – also share equal responsibility. Often, teachers are required to carry out duties that are unrelated to their fundamental responsibility, i.e. teaching. Some schools go to the extent of asking teachers to go for door-to-door canvassing of students, while others expect teachers to handle admin duties leaving very little time for their own professional development. So, the final outcome of this apple also cannot be any different fate from the other one.

If we wish to change this landscape, certain measures have to be taken on three areas as quickly as possible. Here are they:

In-house training: In the recent past, many state and central government bodies have invested in teacher training, in a bid to improve the teaching and learning in schools. However, the mechanism to check whether this training is being implemented properly or not is often absent. This leads us to marginal (and often negligible) results despite investing significant capital. India is today experiencing unprecedented digitization. With the help of right tools and technology, it is possible to reign such scenarios, so that superior long-term results can be experienced with minimal capital.

Lack of professional feedback: In a typical governmental setup, teachers are on their own when it comes to their pedagogical training and classroom management skills. The large-scale workshops, while addressing the macroscopic challenges, give very little to negligible feedback on the areas where they need to individually improve, apart from the macroscopic challenges. Today, we can personalize such training with the help of the desired infrastructure. Even installing a 360-degree surveillance camera within a classroom and then integrating it with a centralized ‘video analytics’ solution can help us drive the desired results. This approach will also ensure that the entire education system of the country is up to the mark qualitatively.

Exam-driven: India has, for a very long time, been solely focused on marks and percentages as the ultimate benchmark of a student’s performance. This has led to most schools emphasizing singularly on terminal exams at the end of Grades X and XII. With this as a focus, schools have very little time to change their teaching practice to focus more on application-oriented learning, which in reality is the goal of a good education ecosystem. Using cost-effective tech-driven solutions, rapid transformations can be brought to ensure that all of the school training is application-oriented, both in the long-term and short term. This will also help in making our education system more dynamic and futuristic.

These were some of the biggest challenges faced by our education system at present. All of us should strongly establish this goal within our mind and work collectively towards achieving it. Only this will ensure that India continues to shine across the globe in as many fields as possible. Delaying this, on the other hand, will lead us to diametrically opposed situation.

Abhishek Kumar is Regional
Director with Onvu Tech.