Educational trainers and trainees

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) undertakes training programmes to impart teachers with new knowledge and skills for the improvement of school education. The National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) under the MoES has been training in-service teachers and is now working to provide affiliation to those wanting to conduct a ten-month primary/secondary teacher training course. Hence though it might seem like the government has invested a lot in teacher training, the output has been unsatisfactory.

Senior trainers at the district level train school level teachers who in turn instruct local teachers. But some of the senior trainers are themselves unqualified and unaware of effective pedagogical strategies.

The number of experienced teachers is low and the deficiencies of training manifold. The training centres don’t encourage proficient teachers to become trainers; political clout is rampant in the selection process for the trainers; and senior teachers run the risk of humiliation at the hands of junior trainers.

At the grassroots, trainers instruct teachers in their respective fields. But some of the trainers are incapable of handling even the basic technical equipment. Reportedly, there is also disagreement between training coordinator and trainers regarding disbursement of funds. Likewise, trainees seldom are totally dedicated towards the programme. They complete their training with scepticism as to whether the coordinator and trainers are colluding to cheat them. Moreover, training should start only after the arrival of training packages at the centres, but in reality, the packages arrive only on completion of the training.

There is no follow-up strategy to find out effectiveness of training in classroom — if the trained teachers really learnt something. Many who are taking the training are also not professional teachers. The problem is that the whole system is biased and favouritism is rampant during selection of teachers for training. The principal selects teachers close to him regardless of the subject h/she teaches at school. Therefore, the investment in training programmes does not yield desired results.

Another striking feature is related to training centres that are conducting Ten Month Training programme for the preparation of teachers whose specialisation is not Education. In these training centres, the trainers will have passed B.Ed/M.Ed from TU or PU and have obtained a maximum of 2nd or 3rd division, but the trainees, on an average, get 70-75% marks minimum after completion of such training. On finishing the training, the trainees become senior to trainers. This further frustrates trainers who do not have any encouragement to continue being trainers. The aforementioned reasons are not helping produce well-train-ed teachers to carry out school education, which is of vital importance as development is directly linked to higher education.

Training is profit-oriented rather than concerned with equipping trainees with contextual knowledge and skills, and making them ready to upgrade their existing knowledge. Unless we supply it with highly trained manpower, school education will never progress from its status quo. It is high time to revisit and redefine the teacher training programme keeping in view its likely global impact.