Academic degrees and certification are granted by academic institutions all over the world. But need-based professional certification and diploma are also being conferred by training institutions both in thse public and private sector. These credentials are awarded by academic/training institutions only after mandatory requirements have been fulfilled by candidates. These include the government approved curriculum, prescribed procedures as well as exams. The rationale for government to monitor this area of education and training is to ensure that minimum standards of teaching/learning are achieved. In Nepal, where pre-service teacher education/certification has traditionally been provided by public sector universities and colleges, now even private educational institutions have been allowed to enter the fray.
In this connection, the in-service teacher education/training is being provided by the National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) and its allied bodies under the Ministry of Education and Sports. For the implementation of the programme, extensive institutional arrangements have been made in partnership with potential training institutions at the local level. The arrangement has scaled up training with focus on clearing the huge backlog of untrained teachers who continue to teach in schools.
The Training Policy 2005 has allowed NCED to give affiliation to private training institutions to run the 10-month pre-service primary teachers training programme. Currently, 99 such institutions are in operation and they have the liberty to plan their own training courses, but their trainees can get certificates only after they complete external examination administered by NCED. The examination has been designed in such a way that no one can pass it without going through the full course stipulated in the training curriculum. In this manner, a globally practised modality of operating private institutions has been put in place and so far, more than 15,000 candidates have graduated under this scheme. Likewise, there are provisions for monitoring and follow-up support, formative research, and external examinations that ensure proper standards.
NCED annually provides the 10-month training to about 25,000 teachers through its extended training network. So far, about 100,000 teachers have been trained under this arrangement in the last 10 years.
During the past few years, educational managers/administrators as well as school teachers have been trained in bulk and it is expected that such training would yield positive outcome in the form of improved school administration and student performance. In the past 10 years, 10 researches have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of the primary teachers training. Last year, two studies conducted by NCED and DoE to assess the effectiveness of primary teacher training suggested an improvement in the level of transfer of training (50% plus). The vast majority of students (more than 70%) and parents (more than 70%) were satisfied with the performance of the trained teachers. NCED is also planning to launch a comprehensive research to systematically assess the impact of such training, especially to study the transfer of skills to the classrooms as well as to assess contribution of the training to increase quality and efficiency of primary education system.
NCED regards training as a highly specialised activity and thus has adopted a professional approach. As regards the Training of Trainers, one of the trainer development programmes run by NCED, a minimum 10-day course is mandatory for those with B.Ed degrees. NCEDâ€™s allied training institutions also attract a pool of experts from Facuilty of Education campuses and higher secondary schools. This modality allows collaboration with local experts and also helps meet the shortage of in-house human resource, especially in the light of ever increasing workload of Educational Training Centres. The quality, efficiency and relevance of training courses are regularly scrutinised and local educational experts consulted for advice.
NCED has recently initiated consultations with Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) to accredit the NCEDâ€™s 10-month pre-service/in-service primary teacher training to grade 11 of HSEB programme with appropriate bridge course. The purpose of seeking accreditation is to integrate the pre-service training into formal academic stream under the university as well as HSEB related academic institutions. This is likely to have salutary effects as it would allow around 15,000 pre-service graduates in the labour market to continue their education for grade 12. NCED emphasises quality teaching-learning as a matter of policy. It must be taken into account that NCED is still a young institution with a tall mandate and yet it is ready to take on the gigantic challenge of providing trained human resource for the entire school sector.
The authors are with NCED