As cliched as it may sound, teachers do change lives and there are innumerable great examples of this, year after year. A teacher is a role model for students and is responsible for more than just academic enrichment. A teacher teaches crucial life lessons to students that will help them succeed beyond assignments and exams in real life.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, teachers have risen to the forefront even more than usual and have been incredible in supporting students and parents during this seismic change. It hasn’t been an easy shift for students from the blackboard classroom to an online classroom; but it has been worse for teachers. Despite being in a state of unpreparedness to handle the implications of the crisis, teachers have ensured that the learning process is kept going.
For some time now, there has been a buzz about the shift to remote learning due to the digital connectivity requirements, availability of digital infrastructure to carry out online lessons, and adequate training for teachers in managing a virtual classroom. And now, the NEP has thrown light on pertinent issues of new standards and training on online tools for teachers. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the NEP specifically addresses the issue of teacher quality and teacher training.
Keeping in mind that it is important to raise the quality bar for teachers, the new policy states that by 2030, the minimum degree required for teaching will be a four-year integrated BEd. Other than this, the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) will also be altered as per the new school system.
The NEP has also emphasized on interviews as a key factor in hiring. The interview will be designed to understand the candidate’s ease and proficiency in teaching in a local language. It would be compulsory for even teachers in private schools to qualify in the TET to maintain high professional standards. The hiring process will be completely digital. Each state will assess expected subject-wise teachers using an inclusive tech-based teacher-requirement planning exercise.
Teaching is a noble and challenging profession. Sadly, the quality of teachers in India has been a point of concern along with the big challenge of the rural and urban divide. In order to ensure equal opportunities for all, merit-based scholarships shall be offered to outstanding students from rural areas for studying a quality, four-year integrated BEd program. This is a great step forward in ensuring the quality of teachers and in narrowing that urban-rural divide.
The NEP is also aiming to train existing teachers by making at least 50 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) mandatory every year. Also, teacher training institutes will be expected to adhere to the guidelines on expected standards or else will be shut down. The National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) is expected to be developed by 2022 by consulting the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and NCERT. The NPST will set guidelines for a teacher at different stages and the competencies required for that stage.
This year for certain has been the most challenging for teachers while also being a year marking pivotal progress with regard to educational policies. The NEP with all its amendments is aimed to uplift our teachers and teaching as a profession to garner quality learning outcomes among students. We certainly hope that the NEP’s goals for teachers are achieved with flying colors.
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Learning Matters is celebrating Teachers Day by commemorating some wonderful individuals who are passionate about teaching and have made teaching & learning their life mantra. Are you such an educator or do you know someone who fits the bill of a ‘Star Educator’? Nominate now for the Learning Matters Star Educator Award 2020!