Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Empty trainings

Of late the State School Education Department seems to be giving serious emphasis on training its teachers as well as well as organizing sensitization/training on community mobilization with an eye on improving quality of education in Government schools. This is a welcome move. There is also the directive from the department to all untrained teachers to get trained or face termination in line with the policy of the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development. Teachers training should not be a one-time event but is a continuous process which needs to be looked at in a different way. While it is imperative that untrained teachers should get trained, it is also true that trained teachers needs regular refresher courses so that they can keep themselves updated and relevant. It is an established fact that our Government schools despite having the most brilliant minds as teachers have continuously shown very poor results compared to their private counterparts. However, it will be extremely unfair to make teachers solely responsible for poor quality of education when the administrative setup and Government policies are equally or at times more responsible for bad quality teaching as it is these policies which have forced teaching community to take non-teaching assignments like election duties, booth level officers, census works etc. Under these circumstances training of teachers must not only be taken seriously but at the same time efforts should be made even at the highest level of Government for implementation of these programmes on ground so that we may be able to see paradigm shift in education from quantity to quality. These training programmes must be organised under a well-designed frame work so that there may not be any scope of derailment from particular topic during a training session. Teachers, especially those who serve in the poorest of urban and rural areas need to be well trained and prepared to deal with extremely diverse classrooms of mostly first-generation learners. We know that teacher training refers to the policies and procedure designed to equip both in-service and prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills required to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom as well as in the school. The most important one is continuous in-service training for professional development and capacity development. Since the world is changing rapidly the teaching skills required are also evolving. So, we must accept that no initial course of teaching training can be sufficient enough for a teacher to deliver effectively for an entire service period. Apart from that, the student community today is way different and more curious than say 15-20 years back. In this regard, there is a continuous pressure on teacher’s fraternity not only to have mastery in their subject and aptitude to understand their students but also keep them abreast about latest teaching methodology. Keeping this in view, there is dire need of continuous professional development of teachers so that teachers, like other professionals, reflect upon their competencies, keeping them up to date and develop further. Research had suggested that in-service training will be effective only if teachers training programmes are spread over time, collaborative in nature as well as responsive to the needs of teachers. Although, the State Government is regularly making arrangements for training of teachers and in fact is spending substantial amount on these training programmes but unfortunately the outcome of these trainings has been very poor and dismal. A major drawback in these in-service teacher training programmes, according to many reports, is that teachers are trained by persons with little or no hands-on experience of teaching in real classroom. Moreover, these so-called resource persons or ToTs (Trainers of Teachers) are not trained to engage with professional teachers. There should have been a provision of selecting among in-service teachers, preferably having a good academic background as well as experience, as resource persons and not based on political affiliations as is mostly done. Moreover, there are reports that these trainings only talk about ideal situations which unfortunately have no relation with actual class room problems and the fact is that on ground the problems are entirely different and acute in nature like the ‘teacher student ratio’, infrastructure and level of students, etc. Indeed it would have been immensely great if at times real classroom situations, issues and problems are taken into consideration while giving training to teachers, which unfortunately most of the times are not.