Teaching is considered the most noble of all professions and for good reasons.
A teacher helps in shaping future generation, guiding on the right path and helping them acquire the skills necessary to lead a productive life and add to the society that we live in.
They contribute immensely in the creation of a society that is healthy, productive and peaceful.
Today the term “teacher”is used generally to denote those engaged in academic activities.
An inspired and well informed educator is the singularly most important factor that can influence learning outcomes in students and their future contribution.
This work is however not without challenges and shortcomings. One has to deal with a room full of students with starkly different aptitude and mannerism. Some would be quick learner while other may struggle in the learning process and the obedient to the playful sort.
Moreover, the learning capability and attention span of each student is not the same making the work of teaching a challenging task.
Also, the proliferation of the Internet and web enabled devices have effectively changed the way classroom operate and how education is consumed by students.
Advancements made in technology had given rise to increasing digitisation of classrooms as well as educational contents. Such a disruption in the process and functioning of teaching and classrooms poses serious challenges. The tried and tested traditional process of teaching has suddenly given way to a new process defined by the fast and easy access to supposedly unlimited amount of information.
However, in order to harness the full potential of technology in education, one needs to possess certain skill sets and knowledge to understand how and when technology can be fruitfully harnessed. Thus there is an urgent need for teachers to up-skill themselves in terms of technology as well as undertake capacity expansion at the earliest possible.
The government has over the years taken several initiatives such as the Right to Education, RMSA and SSA among others to increase school enrollment and achieve universal education in the country.
They have also stressed upon learning outcomes as a major initiative. In the recent past, there is a renewed focus on teacher training by the ministry of HRD in an effort to standardise the quality of education at the school level.
The National Council of Teacher’s Education, a statutory body tasked with overseeing standards, procedures and processes is preparing to implement stricter quality controls in teachers training and recognition institutions across the country.
Such renewed focus is a clear indication of the importance on the quality of education. Training and retraining of teachers assumes increasing significance on bringing the teachers up to speed with the recent technology induced disruption in the education system.
Private institutes play a great role in augmenting the government's efforts towards teacher training and development. Scores of educational companies have made significant investments of time and money in developing updated contents and learning aids for the students.
So far a bulk of the investment by private players is towards digitisation and smart classes apart from printing updated editions of books. In the process these companies have accumulated significant experience and expertise in content development and enhanced delivery.
This knowledge and expertise can be utilised in the development of cutting edge training materials and modules with the same refinement and sophistication seen in students learning materials.
Such programmes help in-service teachers weed out gaps in the knowledge of subject content and help to employ a constructive approach.
Partnerships and collaboration with government agencies as well as international educational firms of repute can further enhance the quality.
Concerted efforts involving the government as well as private players are crucial if we are to successfully implement an all-encompassing teachers’ training programme in India.
The writer is managing director, MBD group