The Azim Premji University, located in Karnataka, has released a series named ‘Issues in Education’. This newly launched series aims to highlight the fundamental issues that play a significant role in India’s education system. The first volume of the series, titled ‘Teachers and Teacher Education’, takes a look at the functioning of teacher education institutions in India and evaluates the kind of support that teachers in the public system receive while making a note of the conditions under which they work. Almost all statements of education policy in the country acknowledge the pivotal role of teachers in the education system. So, it is crucial to review their challenges in order to empower them and bring about any educational reform.
The first two papers of this volume, named Mapping the Landscape of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) in India and Corruption in Private Teacher Education Institutions study teacher education institutions in the country. They reveal the existence of many sub-standard, dysfunctional teacher education institutions functioning as ‘commercial shops’.
“The dysfunctional Teacher Education system is at the core of India’s problems in school education. Till we address this comprehensively, all efforts at improving the quality of our schooling is like treating the skin, while an aggressive cancer corrodes the body everywhere inside,” said Anurag Behar, Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University in a press release.
This volume reveals that out of the 17503 teacher education institutions in India, more than 90% are privately-owned stand-alone institutions. They offer localised programmes and deliberately overrule the basic curricular requirements required to get the approval to run teacher education programmes.
The third paper of the volume, Neglecting Support for Teacher: Bane of our Public Education System, also focusses on the issues that are negatively impacting the morale, motivation, and professional development of teachers. Insufficient staff and inadequate school-based mentoring support are the major challenges in this regard.
The fourth paper, named Contract Teachers in India – Current Trends, Issues and Challenges highlights another pressing issue: The prevalence of contract teachers across the country.
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