Higher teacher education witnessed tremendous innovation and expansion at the turn of the new millennium today; the universities are the assets for human resource development, technological advancement and socio-political empowerment.
But, they are also faced with the challenges to meet the need for productive employment, effective use of information technology, and research contributions to face the demands of the knowledge society. The inclusive policies emphasize the Indian Universities to offer individualized mass education, with greater quality and at a lower cost. Universities have to restructure, re-engineer and reform the academic endeavours to meet such requirements. Teacher education is a transmission of knowledge and information through predefined teaching methods and various training programmes. The quality of learning mainly depends on the ability and the capability of the learners to achieve from the opportunity available with them. There is a growing realization that what we are practicing in colleges these days will define the social and intellectual competencies and character of the new generation which has to take upon itself the responsibility of shaping and functioning of the future generation.
Learning is considered a treasure within and envisages wider and holistic teaching learning process rather than the traditional and strategic initiatives. The quality of teaching and research is closely associated with the development of infrastructure and instructional facilities, flexible curriculum, innovative teaching methods and examination reforms. The choice based credit system and the semester based examination system coupled with the skill enrichment programs can enhance the quality of teacher education and ехсеllence in higher education institutions.
Initiatives in Tertiary Level Teacher Education
In practice, a teacher education degree is never made compulsory to teachers in colleges of higher education or in universities. At present, there were hardly any pre-service courses offered for university and college teachers, even though there were several innovative programmes developed during the 1970’s a perusal of these initiatives can give insights into the design and demand of these courses.
The very first programme was the Master of College Teaching (M.C.T.) started in the University of Calicut, in 1975 which was offered by the Dept of Education. The objective of the course was to give pre-service teacher training to prospective postgraduate students in colleges teaching. The course gave emphasis to fundamentals of teacher education, research and evaluation practices of higher teacher education. However, this course was discontinued due to lack of support from state government. Another course for college teachers began in 1978 by University of Kerala. This M. Phil in Science Education too was scrapped after few years. However, there had a great demand for the course offered by Annamalai University a Master of Higher Education course (MHED) for the training of college teachers. This was later discontinued as it failed to find recognition from the state and national bodies. M. S. University Baroda introduced a Diploma in Higher Education for the training of college teachers at a tertiary level which was also discontinued after few years as the conventional thinking in the academic circles is that appropriate scholarship in a discipline is good enough to become an effective teacher at the collegiate or university. The concept and process of teaching learning had changed and advanced skills and are
Structure of Teacher Education at Tertiary Level
In higher teacher education programmes, pedagogical strategies and content enrichment are closely intertwined. The most successful ones are related to participants’ needs and open to opportunities for interaction. The effective teacher educational program requires creating cultures in which academics are encouraged to experiment with student-centred curriculum, activity-based learning and integrated to research and innovation.
Curriculum for Tertiary Level Teacher Education Programme
Ensuring quality in teacher education is a major challenge in the context of the massive expansion of the university education in India. Teacher education, unfortunately, is one of the less understood segments of education. It is a routine rather than a functional service system of higher teacher education. The quality of teacher education can be enhanced only by creating teachers with the expected professional competencies and commitments. The advent of the knowledge society has introduced vast changes in the practice of teacher education which demands several basic changes in the modalities used for teacher education. The critical directive of teacher education emerges from the fact that education is no longer treated as a transfer of information centered round spoken or written communication. The paradigm shift is from the ‘quantum of information transferred to the learner’ to the extent of ‘training the learner had in information processing through self-learning’. The epistemological position intends that every learner is expected to construct his own knowledge. The assertion of the constructivists projects a different kind of learning and a novel set of instructional and learning strategies. The shift from ‘teacher-teaching’ to ‘learner-learning’, demands a total departure from the conventional instructional strategies. The teacher, as the key facilitator, will have to design and present a variety of focused strategies from which the learner selects a group most appropriate for his learning. Teaching in the ‘knowledge society’ becomes the processes of ‘teaching to learn’ and to unearth the ‘treasure within’. This would mean that we have to operate a new teacher education which will be in consonance with these assumptions and educational needs of the learner at tertiary level.
Preparation of final curriculum should be done only after extensive deliberation of subject teachers at grass root level. Integration, inter-disciplinary components are essential in the framing curriculum. Creation of an atmosphere in the colleges conducive to participation in such academic activities and the appreciation and recognition of the teachers in teacher education work would be a motivating factor. It is clearly reflected that the curriculum component should include science and technology with prime importance to recognition subjects keeping the local and international scenario.
UGC’s Initiatives for Innovations
In January 2013, the Ministry of Human Resource Development initiated Rashtriya Uchachatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) with a view to cater higher teacher education for long-term social investment for the promotion of economic growth, cultural development, social cohesion, equality and justice. This centraUy sponsored scheme for higher teacher education is likely to spread over the XII and XIII plan periods with quality concerns.
The objectives of RUSA are to improve access, equality and quality in higher teacher education through planned development. It insists that die institutions of higher learning have to perform multiple roles for creating new knowledge, acquiring new capabilities, and evolving an intelligent human resource pool. The Indian higher teacher education system has to brace itself to address the local and global challenges by integrating its academic, research and extension programmes. This is especially true in the context of teacher education in India. There should be special effort and leadership initiative under RUSA to coordinate the functions of various national bodies and universities for promoting innovations and reforms in teacher education in India.
Effective Teacher Training: Suggestions and Strategies
The concept of teacher preparation for higher education has not gathered enough momentum. An ideal teacher education curriculum should be deduced from the professional competencies to be required and the roles to be performed and the habits attitudes and values to acquire.
An efficient system of Teacher education at higher education level is a necessity. An ideal teacher education curriculum should be deduced from the professional competencies to be required and the roles to be performed and the habits attitudes and values to acquire. Hence, policy planners in education should give due importance to teacher education at tertiary level.