The National Council for Teacher Education has begun the process of weeding out substandard teacher training colleges, as recommended in the draft National Education Policy.
“A reduction in quantity is needed to boost quality...This is a big challenge facing today’s teacher education sector,” said NCTE chairperson Satbir Bedi on Friday, pointing out that the country produces 19.5 lakh teachers every year, though the annual requirement is less than three lakh.
“We have begun the assessment process. We’re going to try what we can do to keep the good colleges functioning and growing and make the other colleges get out of the system so that they don’t create third grade teachers,” she told The Hindu on the sidelines of the inauguration of NCTE’s new headquarters here in Dwarka.
“We are determined to overhaul teacher education so that India again becomes known for excellence of its teachers.” Overall, about 90 lakh teachers, trained in approximately 18,500 training institutions, teach 25 crore children in more than 15 lakh schools.
“The process of reviewing the performance of the institutions and closing down the corrupt or substandard ones will be immediately initiated through mandatory accreditation of all TEIs [Teacher Education Institutions] as multidisciplinary HEIs [Higher Education Institutions] within the next 3-5 years,” said the draft.
Even the All India Association of Private Colleges, with a membership of more than 9,000 training institutions, admits that a large proportion may need to be shut down. “About 25-30% are substandard. Some need to be closed. But others should be treated as patients. If some treatment is given, they can be made healthy. Abolition is not the only solution,” said AIAPC president Ashok Vyas.
Inaugurating the NCTE building, Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank emphasised the measures being taken to improve teacher education, including the launch of the four-year integrated B.Ed programmes, the plan to choose 700 colleges — at least one per district — as model teacher training institutions, and a plan to review the outdated curriculum of teacher training.
“The curriculum has been unchanged for decades and urgently needs upgradation. It needs to have more of a practical component, take digital advances into account. Most of all, it needs to look at the world from the viewpoint of a little child,” said Dr. Bedi.