Teacher Education in India: An Auxiliary Perspective

By Govindarajan, Girish; Jayalakshmi T. K. et al. | Education, Winter 1993 | Go to article overview

Teacher Education in India: An Auxiliary Perspective


Govindarajan, Girish, Jayalakshmi T. K., Gopal, Malathi V., Education


The article "Innovations in teacher education - the Indian context" by Joshi and Thomas (1991, p. 11-15) is a brief but insightful documentary on innovative ideas and practices in teacher education in India. The authors' review highlights on important innovative practices, such as: integrated teacher education, teacher education curriculum, inservice teacher education, and teacher education for rural development.

The authors actually point to the fact that the innovations were in respect of examination reforms whose aim was to engage the student in mastery learning. Srivastava (1979) provides an excellent detail of information in a Unesco document entitled "Examination reforms in India". The documentation is 41st in the Asian series: Experiments and innovations in education.

Since the 1970s a large number of universities, and specifically teacher education colleges across the country, have worked diligently toward the formation, implementation and acceptance of a national curriculum. As a developing nation, education in India has experienced tremendous progress.

In fact, in a superior documentary on the subject (of national curriculum), Taylor (1991a) reflects that "the nation has made enormous progress in all aspects of educational provision in the past half century". Higher education in the sciences has also similarly contributed to the nation's progress. As Sebaly (1988) points out, "It |the country~ has also established a network of post-secondary institutions that makes India one of the leading producers of scientists and technologists".

Education in Contemporary India

The infrastructure of the Indian school system is built to accommodate the educational goals and objectives of a national curriculum which has been adopted by many states in the country. The educational system provides for three independent tracks of schooling and examination. The ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) schooling is affordable by the upper class Indians; CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Examination) is for students from families whose members serve in the defense services and central government agencies, and those generally in jobs that periodically require them to relocate to neighboring states; and, the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) is for people from both the middle and lower class of the society.

Even though varying in syllabi from state to state, the Indian school system is generally organized into the 10+2+3 pattern. This means that every child who enrolls in formal education will undergo basic education for 10 years (beginning the schooling from age 6), followed by 2 years of pre-university education (the junction between high school and graduate college education). This is then followed by 3 years of graduate education leading to the award of the Bachelors degree in the specific area of specialization, which may be arts, humanities, science, or commerce. Some specialization subjects such as engineering or medicine, require the student to study for 5 years before they are evaluated and the degree is awarded. Most students pursue for their post-graduate education in the various fields of education, sciences, management, engineering, medicine, and the arts disciplines.

Students enrolled at the elementary through secondary school level in state government managed schools enjoy free education. Vocational education is a progressive opportunity for talented students; in fact, this is one of the many avenues to encourage and motivate the disinterested children, and dropouts, to become educationally and scientifically literate. Formal education is compulsory and free for all young children up to the secondary school level. Beyond secondary education, the government - both the state and central - make available a few scholarships for the needy and deserving students. There exists, though, stiff competition to obtain any form of scholarship.

However, not everything in contemporary India can be labelled as "smooth sailing". …

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