Minister for Human Resources Development A. Suresh has said that having no dearth of talent, Andhra Pradesh has the best of minds as teachers in government schools. Mr. Suresh has, however, said that in the endeavour of transforming school education with the introduction of English medium and new student-centric curriculum, training teachers has been a major challenge.
Mr. Suresh took part in a panel discussion on ‘Capacity building required in AP schools to support the transition of English medium’ along with Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) founder-director Anjali Jain and Naandi Foundation chief policy officer Rohini Mukherjee at the ‘Excellence in Education’ conclave organised by The Hindu . The session was moderated by Vijaya Padma Srinivas, head of training and content development at STEP, a product of The Hindu Group . Representatives of various educational institutions in large numbers participated in the conclave. “The task of converting all the schools into English medium schools could be done with just an order, but successful implementation is a great challenge. The biggest challenge is training the teachers as it is not just a matter of proficiency in English but also the development of content.
“We have over 20 lakh students in primary schools and from the coming academic year, medium of instruction will be English. For this, we need over 98,000 teachers to instruct in English and it requires a lot of training for them. AP has no dearth of talent, teachers are recruited through a tough process of DSC examination and are the best of the minds. The only thing they lack is the confidence to teach in English while they are strong in content and the same situation could be seen in higher education in AP and other States too,” he said.
Briefly explaining why the government did not make English medium as an option in government primary schools, Mr. Suresh said, “Children below the age of 10 can learn five to six languages and the ability comes down as age progresses. Yet, one’s comfort in learning and teaching is also important. To make it possible we have started bridge courses for students using technology and robust training modules for teachers. It is not that we are making all the 45,000 schools as English medium schools overnight, there are many government schools instructing in English and Telugu. When an option is given to the children and teachers, due to lack of confidence, they might not choose English medium,” Mr. Suresh said.
Ms. Anjali said that lack of motivation for teachers and focus on individuals has been two common challenges in building teacher capabilities.
Ms. Anjali explained CENTA’s standard teacher competency framework and how it helped in motivating and improving skills of teachers. Ms. Rohini said that foundation believes in the importance of English medium education.