The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) as a statutory body came into existence in pursuance of the National Council for Teacher Education Act 1993 on August 17, 1995 with the objective of planned and coordinated development of teacher education system in India with regulation and maintenance of norms and standards thereof. And on August 17, 2019, NCTE entered into its 25th year with a commemorative event spread over two days (Aug 17-18)as an international conference titled , ‘Journey of Teacher Education—Local to Global’ in New Delhi. The conference was attended by about 1300 people comprising teacher educators, administrators, government officials, student teachers, representative of teacher education providers, NGOs and foreign delegates.
Rina Ray, Secretary Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD used the occasion to announce teacher training project NISHTA (National Initiative on School Teachers Head Holistic Advancement) under which about 42 lakh teachers will be trained. The project will commence from August 22. “This will be the world’s biggest project for teacher training project,” she added. The secretary also announced that all the 19500 teacher training institutes have been mapped with Google Earth and basic information about them will be available as report cards and there is also provision for feedback.
Dr Satbir Bedi, chairperson NCTE in her remarks said that her organization is looking at twin goals of ceasing the opportunity to improve teacher education and open communication among various stakeholders. “Teacher is a concern, there needs to be a lot of sharing of this concern, we will see what can be done at our level but NCTE can’t solve all the problems, we have to empower people at each level so that our students get good teachers. We have to keep meeting again and again and keep the discussion alive. We have to do more research to improve constantly. We should look 50-100 years ahead and think about our future generations, what kind of teacher will be required,” she said.
Bedi also stated that among her priorities, remains making teacher profession as number one choice for students and to this end, our efforts must go on. She informed that there are 27 more events planned in various parts of country during the year-long celebrations. The events will be hosted mostly by universities.
Earlier in his inaugural speech union HRD minister, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishant, dwelt on the ancient leadership of India in the field of education and teachers. He said teachers are shapers of nation’s destination and it is upto them to act as powerhouse of new India.
Over two days, six sessions took place in which 26 speakers and panelists participated. The sub themes included Teacher Education in India: Present Scenario; Innovations in Teaching Practices: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment; Knowledge, Traditions and Practices of India; Integration of ICT in Teaching, Learning, Evaluation, Inclusive Education; Internationalization of Teacher Education.
Indu Prasad, Director of School Education at Azim Premji University in her remarks said that among the positives of last 15 years has been the realization that teaching is a serious business. It has a body of knowledge and needs processes. Pointing to challenges she said that massive shift to universalization of primary education has come with opportunities it provides. “All children are capable of learning, schools are inclusive spaces, respect and other values are involved in learning. All this happened but for anything and everything teacher is blamed. A teacher has been made the object of experiment instead of creator. The support for teacher is missing, she added. Recommending revitalization of teacher training institutions, Prasad emphasized on strengthening teacher educators, translating material into regional languages besides integrating teacher education fully into higher education to lift its status and knowledge base.
Prof Kuldip Chand Agnihotri, vice chancellor, central university Himachal Pradesh made a strong plea to allow questioning in classrooms as the formative years of young minds are the most fertile years for new ideas. He also said the country needs to research the ancient systems to take lessons.
A welcome highlight of the conference was the award ceremony in which 65 teaching innovations from all over the country were recognized. Searched under Rupantar initiative of transforming government schools by Sri Aurbindo Society, the innovations have been filmed and made into inspiring short films and teacher innovators awarded as National Teacher Awardees by MHRD. As discussion around teacher education continues to be a spotlight, NCTE has done well to start a renewed journey of openness and interactions.