By Pankaj Saikia
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” -Albert Einstein
The education sector has undergone massive changes over the past two years due to rapid digitalisation, the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to change existing curricula. The National Education Policy (2020) has also forced institutions and teachers to recognize the need for teacher in-service training. Therefore, teachers should explore opportunities for self-development, innovation and advancement in their profession. In addition, they can take certification and distance courses offered at Indian and foreign universities.
The NEP 2020 has also emphasized teacher education and proposed reforms through various training programmes. It includes a four-year integrated B.Ed. as a dual major holistic bachelor of education and specialized subject. It covers pedagogical techniques to increase basic literacy and numeracy, teach children with disabilities, and nurture innate talents. According to the proposed Comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, the assessment and curriculum of the teachers will be based on the latest school structures of the NEP 2020, divided into four sections: Fundamental, Preparatory, Middle and Secondary. The teachers need further training to understand and implement new age pedagogies such as concept-based and experiential learning. In addition, the change in the assessment process from memorization to competency-based requires teachers to develop their analytical skills. Schools have also delivered online teacher training programs using digital platforms such as SWAYAM or DIKSHA.
The NEP 2020 also focused on the involvement of vocational training in curricula from an early age, asking teachers to undergo training in order to deliver these programs effectively.
Digitization has also challenged teachers to hone their skills and learn digital skills. In addition, it will help teachers educate students and engage them in classroom learning using technology tools such as gaming and social media.
According to UNICEF, an estimated one in seven adolescents aged 10 to 19 worldwide is living with a diagnosed mental disorder, and about 46,000 die by suicide each year; it ranks among the top five causes of death in this age group. This indicates that the role of a teacher in contemporary situations goes beyond academics. They need the training to fit in as a tutor, coach, mentor, counselor, instructor, and friends to create a well-ordered classroom with proper techniques to ensure students’ mental well-being.
In addition, students with disabilities need barrier-free access to education. NEP emphasizes this aspect and strives for this inclusive approach to learning. A bank headed by Judge AM Khanwilkar said there are currently only 1,20,781 special educators registered with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Therefore, it is imperative to introduce workshops and courses that train teachers to transfer knowledge, taking into account the needs of children with physical and various developmental disabilities. These training programs will benefit from creating a positive, holistic and inclusive learning environment that will improve the performance of both teachers and students.
Meeting the emerging needs requires further training of teachers so that they can guide students in developing multidimensional skills. It is high time we make our education system more advanced by bringing back and improving the worldwide recognition of the timeless legacies of Gurukuls through teachers and gurus.
The author of this article is PGT Commerce, Modern English School, Kahilipara, Guwahati. Opinions expressed are personal.