“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Teaching is considered a very noble profession as it’s the teachers who shape up the future of a country. It’s their teachings that inculcate good values and the sense of righteousness in the future citizens. This profession impacts everyone’s lives, and the students respect good teachers, as much as their parents.
This week, we interviewed Dr. Satbir Bedi, Chairperson, NCTE (National Council for Teacher Education), a statutory body of the Government of India. NCTE’s main objective is to achieve planned and coordinated development of the teacher education system throughout the country, the regulation and proper maintenance of Norms and Standards in the teacher education system and for matters connected therewith.
1. National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was constituted as an advisory body but later was given the statutory status. Please share NCTE’s journey from being an advisory body to a statutory body.
The National Council for Teacher Education, in its previous status since 1973, was an advisory body for the Central and State Governments on all matters pertaining to teacher education, with its Secretariat in the Department of Teacher Education of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Despite its commendable work in the academic fields, it could not perform essential regulatory functions, viz. to ensure maintenance of standards in teacher education and preventing the proliferation of substandard teacher education institutions.
The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and the Programme of Action thereunder, envisaged a National Council for Teacher Education with statutory status and necessary resources as a first step for overhauling the system of teacher education. The National Council for Teacher Education as a statutory body came into existence in pursuance of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 (No. 73 of 1993) on the 17th August 1995.
2. What is the main objective of NCTE?
The main objective of the NCTE is to achieve a planned and coordinated development of the teacher education system throughout the country, regulation and proper maintenance of Norms and Standards in imparting teacher education system and matters connected therewith. The mandate given to NCTE is very broad and covers the whole gamut of teacher education programmes, including research and training of persons for equipping them to teach at pre-primary, primary, secondary and senior secondary stages in schools, and non-formal education, part-time education, adult education and distance (correspondence) education courses.
3. What are the functions of NCTE? Tell our readers about their significance.
It is the duty of the Council to take all such steps as it may think fit for ensuring planned and coordinated development of teacher education and for the determination and maintenance of standards for teacher education and for the purposes of performing its functions under NCTE Act. In order to discharge its duties, the Council may perform the following functions:
- undertake surveys and studies relating to various aspects of teacher education and publish the result thereof;
- make recommendations to the Central and State Government, Universities, University Grants Commission and recognized institutions in the matter of preparation of suitable plans and programmes in the field of teacher education;
- co-ordinate and monitor teacher education and its development in the country;
- lay down guidelines in respect of minimum qualifications for a person to be employed as a teacher in schools or in recognized institutions;
- lay down norms for any specified category of courses or training in teacher education, including the minimum eligibility criteria for admission thereof, and the method of selection of candidates, duration of the course, course contents and mode of the curriculum;
- lay down guidelines for compliance by recognized institutions, for starting new courses or training, and for providing physical and instructional facilities, staffing pattern and staff qualification;
- lay down standards in respect of examinations leading to teacher education qualifications, criteria for admission to such examinations and schemes of courses or training;
- lay down guidelines regarding tuition fees and other fees chargeable by recognized institutions;
- promote and conduct innovation and research in various areas of teacher education and disseminate the results thereof;
- examine and review periodically the implementation of the norms, guidelines and standards laid down by the Council, and to suitably advise the recognized institution;
- evolve suitable performance appraisal system, norms and mechanism for enforcing accountability on recognized institutions;
- formulate schemes for various levels of teacher education and identify recognized institutions and set up new institutions for teacher development programmes;
- take all necessary steps to prevent commercialization of teacher education; and
- perform such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Central Government.
4. No education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. What recent steps has the NCTE undertaken for systemic and radical improvements in its functioning and in improving the teacher education system?
All the 15 Teacher Education Programmes recognized by NCTE as per Regulations (Norms & Standards), 2014 now have separate dedicated courses on level-specific pedagogy for teachers and other important aspects like ICT, Gender, Inclusive education and Yoga for teacher training. Besides there is a mandatory provision of minimum 20 weeks internship which every pupil teacher has to undergo, before the successful award of Diploma or Degree in teacher Education.
A projected Four Year Integrated Teacher Education Programme is underway and will be soon implemented in the next academic session.
5. What are the stumbling blocks that NCTE encounters in its functioning? How do you tackle them?
The recognition process of teacher education institutions is completely dependent on the Visiting Team Reports obtained through Experts of Regional Committees selected from the teacher education sector. The reports are usually prepared in such a manner that recognition has to be granted to the institutions treating the said report as a reliable source of information. But the reliability of the material recorded is, at times, found to be at variance with the facts, probably due to issues of competency or even integrity.
To tackle this, we are working on revising the Inspection rules & procedures, which is under progress.
6. Which technologies are used by NCTE to plan development and for maintenance of standards while bringing excellence in Teacher Education programme?
NCTE had taken certain steps for weeding out TEIs that do not have the basic physical and academic infrastructure. Also, we have integrated ICT in almost every function of NCTE to ensure transparency & efficiency. Certain important steps being followed are as under:
1. Fostering a Culture of Quality within TEIs
(i) Rebalancing of emphasis to pay due attention to academic assets, teaching-learning process and the learning outcomes.
2. Ease of Doing Business with NCTE
(i) Adoption of Citizen Charter in 2016.
(ii) A new approach to accreditation has been approved. It will now be done once in 5 years and will involve assessment of academic and physical assets, teaching-learning process and learning outcomes.
(iii) The land area requirement and land ownership criteria have been eased to enable quality institutions to expand and new institutions to come up in areas where land is scarce.
(iv) Online application & recognition given to institutions by the RCs.
7. NCTE has introduced Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP). Please provide us an overview of this programme and its objectives.
In order to upgrade the teacher education system and to prioritize and enhance the teaching profession in the nation, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has announced a four-year Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP).
The ITEP programme is a four-year programme that includes eight semesters, inclusive of field-based experiences, teaching practice and internship. It also plans to give an overview to teacher-pupils an exposure to the enhancement of their skills & ability. The curriculum is also designed to give pedagogic & curricular knowledge relevant to teaching & learning. It also plans to integrate teacher education into discipline-specific electives. Practical learning along with extended engagement with schools & students would also be imparted.
About the programme:
• It aims to nurture class 12th passed students for a responsible profession of teaching. The duration of the course will be for four years.
• After enrollment under this programme, students shall have to complete it within eight semesters.
• Minimum qualification for candidates should be to have passed class 12th with a minimum score of 50 percent marks.
• The admission will be on merit basis. As per the policy of the University or State Government or Union Territory Administration, there can also be an entrance exam for granting admission to this course.
8. What is NCTE’s e-governance platform?
NCTE has taken several steps to shift to E-Governance, which can be summed up as follows:
1. The NCTE Website www.ncte-india.org has been made more dynamic and user-friendly and is constantly being upgraded.
2. Online Module on Recognition – Comprehensive e-solution to streamline the process of recognition starting from receipt of applications online.
3. Online Appeal Process – To receive Online Appeal from the concerned institution:
4. Strengthening of Management Information System (MIS) for better information flow leading to prompt decision making.
5. Comprehensive e-solution to streamline the process of recognition starting from receipt of applications online.
6. Online module on RTI, having a web interface for citizens with login into the system to track the status and view the responses.
7. Online module on Grievances having a web interface for citizens with login into the system to track the status and view the responses.
8. Inbuilt features to automatically select VT Members and institutions to be inspected, preventing any subjective selection of VT Members by either the Regional Committee or even NCTE Headquarters.
9. What needs to be done to regularize norms and processes in teachers’ education in India?
The existing manual procedure of completing the process of recognition of the courses takes around nine months. To complete the process within the shortest time possible, the NCTE is in the process of modifying the processing of applications online to reduce the time consumed & transparency.
Also, the NCTE requires a comprehensive set of tools to deliver regulatory functions with a built-in wworkflow mechanism for all stakeholders including institutes, State Government, Central Government, Affiliating Universities and NCTE Regional Committees. The objective is to have a dynamic platform that brings transparency and timely disposal of all applications and to support the entire monitoring and evaluation process.
10. What are the future plans of NCTE to improve teacher education in India?
The General Body of NCTE in its last meeting held on 05th February 2019 had approved the following proposals of NCTE :
(i) Proposal for an accelerated 5-year Integrated Post-Graduation Teacher Education Preparation Programme combining Graduation + B.Ed.+M.Ed. The degree / Certificate awarded to the student teachers shall be equivalent to Graduate Degree + PG Degree in Education.
(ii) Instituting a “Best Teacher Educator” award annually to five teacher educators from each of the four Regional Committees’ in their respective jurisdictions.
(iii) Making mandatory for all TEIs to fill up the Performance Appraisal Report every year through online mode.
(iv) To put up a system in place where any teacher-pupil may, voluntarily, opt for registration with NCTE, whereby a digitally secure certificate will be issued.