I have been moving around several schools in different states of India and meeting various teachers. I often wonder that when various stakeholders are collectively making effort for quality education in India, why don’t we have a rigorous recruitment process of teachers like that for IAS? This process could be followed by a 4-5 year master degree. The admission process can have a written and verbal test and an interview.
Why am I saying this? In India, we hear it often – If you can’t be anything, be a teacher.
Well, I do not intend to derogate anyone by stating this. But this whole belief about considering teaching as a secondary choice of profession is disheartening. Especially when we want the educational levels to improve, we need to ensure that we have teachers who are there for the love for teaching.
In current scenario, there are different type of teachers which includes contractual teachers known as Shiksha Mitras of UP and Bihar, and by different names in other states. These contractual teachers are not qualified enough and lack basic degree in education. While having Shiksha Mitras make the number of teachers per school look decent, during my visits, I have encountered some of them who were not able to solve certain questions based on competencies of classes 4 & 5. Not pointing fingers, I believe, we should collectively develop a system where we can get best teachers to give our students quality education. Finland is one such example.
In current scenario, different states follow different recruitment procedures. In some states, the recruitment is made on the basis of the candidate’s performance in a competitive examination, whereas, in some other states, recruitment is made on the basis of the academic and professional background of the candidate. The merit of each candidate is determined on the basis of his/her score in the examinations he/she has passed in addition to previous teaching experience, if any. In some other states, a combination of the two procedures, i.e., performance in a competitive examination and merit determined on the basis of academic credentials is adopted; some weightage is given to the performance of candidates in an oral examination held through interviewing the candidates. To start with, we need to have a common admission procedure and standard for teachers to enrol them for BEd and further studies.
We can be ambitious and can design a national level entrance test followed by an interview to get admission in Educational degree. Once a candidate is selected to get admission for proposed degree, he/she should be placed in his/her own district’s college. Candidate teachers should get all exposure during proposed degree mainly focussing on field visits, ground level realities, international teaching practices which can equip them to help and contribute in learning levels of children across all types of schools. The course should be made research based to ensure that the teachers themselves are learning with understanding.
Like some important administrative portfolios, teachers should also go through rigorous training. As there are no ad-hoc or temporary appointments in administrative services, similarly no contractual or under experienced teachers should be appointed.
By following these universal procedures, we will have teachers of a certain level and orientation, who will be more oriented to teaching than to secure a job. The level of learning of the students of such teachers, I am sure, will show a steep rise as the teachers will be equipped fundamentally to deal with different types of students.
Like all of us, even I am aware that this can be called a wishful thinking. However, to have world class teachers who can focus on bringing in change in the way education is perceived, we need to brace up to rigorous processes in recruitments and tender approaches inside the classrooms.
By Kashi Nath Jha – Educational Specialist
(Member of Large Scale Assessment Team)
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