Revised curriculum prepares student-teachers for the RTE Act and also deals with ‘inclusive teaching’

Teacher education finds itself at a crossroads now. Never has the significance of providing future teachers the right training been more debated than in recent times. Realising the dire need to revamp existing systems of preparing aspiring teachers, who in turn prepare a whole generation of future citizens, concrete steps are now being taken to bring in the necessary changes.

While universities are being forced to have a relook at B.Ed (Bachelor of Education) courses, the less glamorous version of this course – D.Ed (Diploma in Education) has got a real shot at being relevant again. Earlier this month, the Directorate of State Education, Research and Training (DSERT) revealed a renewed D.Ed curriculum (called the Karnataka Elementary Teacher Education Curriculum 2012-13), which the State Government has accepted.

The revamped curriculum, to be implemented for the 2013-14 academic year, has been developed by a core team headed by K.S. Sameer Simha. It is based on the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2009, National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005, and the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

Constructivism

Speaking to The Hindu EducationPlus, Prof. Simha said the new curriculum introduces a new technique of “constructivism”, which is a huge shift from the ‘teacher centric’ nature of the previous one. “It recognises the child as a potential learner and gives the child more freedom,” he explained.

Alongside this is the focus on preparing the student-teachers for the RTE Act and also dealing with inclusive teaching. “The right of the child is respected, where a child should not feel that after five years of schooling, he/she has not learnt anything. This is why the technique to involve children to learn is introduced,” he added.

Though the primary intention of the curriculum revision is to impart better education, both to the student-teachers as well as to the children subsequently, there is also the hope that the dwindling number of takers for D.Ed will be rejuvenated.

“Several colleges offering D.Ed have closed down due to zero admissions, while many are functioning with less than 20 students. We hope to rejuvenate admissions, which is why we have also suggested that graduates should be allowed to pursue D.Ed,” he said.

Job market

The new curriculum also has an eye on the employability of the takers of the course. “There is inherent bias among private schools against hiring D.Ed graduates even to teach the primary classes, especially in English-medium schools. This is because D.Ed holders are not very strong in their English language communication skills,” Prof. Simha admitted, but added that D.Ed holders too prefer to teach in government schools.

For this, substantial stress has been laid on communication skills (Basic English in the first year and methods of teaching – even in Kannada – in the second year).