Education is a dynamic process. It has continued to evolve diversify and extend it s reach since the dawn of human history. Every country develops its own system of education to express and promote its unique socio-cultural identity as well as to meet the challenges of the times.
A human being is a precious natural resource. He needs to be cherished, nurtured and developed with tenderness and care. Throughout history, Education has been playing this vital role and has contributed a lot in shaping the destinies of societies in all phases of their development. More importantly, Education develops man-power for different levels of the economy. I t is also the substrate on which research and development flourish, being the ultimate guarantee of national self reliance. In essence, Education is to be looked upon as a unique investment in the present and the future.
Today teaching is a profession requiring specialization in terms of knowledge and skills. There exists a wide gap between theory and the knowledge and skills of teaching required in the actual classroom curriculum transaction. For this reason, a routine-bound teacher cannot act in accordance with the emerging needs unless he or she is trained and frequently oriented. One of the most important requirements to promote and strengthen education is the training of teachers who are the key resources in the reform, redirection and renewal of Education.
Objectives of the Scheme of Teacher Education for Meghalaya
- To strengthen premier institutes of Teacher Education in each of the seven districts of the State so that they would effectively function like a store house of data, know how, technical expertise, aids and other educational equipments.
- To provide academic and resource support at the grass - root level for the success of various strategies, activities and programmes being undertaken in the areas of Elementary Education.
- To provide more access to pre-service training while inservice training programmes for the in-service untrained
teachers as well as functionaries and Resource persons of BRCs and CRCs under the S.S.A Project will continue to improve quality teaching.
State Policy of the State on Teacher Education after the 1986 National Policy on Education
Following the National Policy on Education, the State Government brought out “A White Paper on Education” for the State in 1988 which was duly placed in the House of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. The White Paper laid down the "thrust areas" on some education sectors considered relevant to and of immediate need for the State. However at that time no Programme of Action was laid down as regards strategies and procedures for implementation. In pursuance of the State White Paper on Education, many concrete steps have been taken by the State Government, viz. revision of curriculum and syllabus of school Education at all levels in accordance with the National Core Curriculum, adoption of Higher Secondary Education system at +2 stage, etc.
The revised and updated school curriculum was developed by the then State Council of Education Research and Training (now Directorate of Educational Research & Training). The Government has restructured the Pattern of School Education in the State since 1990 and the Meghalaya Board of School Education had implemented the revised curriculum since 1990. In 2008 the School Curriculum was once again revised by MBOSE with the assistance from DERT in the light of the National Curriculum Framework of 2005.
The State Programme of Action, 1995 which was based on the National Policy on Education was placed in the House of Meghalaya Assembly on 20th December, 1995 and has since been operationalised.
Under strategies for strengthening Teacher Training the Programme of Action 1995 states "The present position of Teacher Education in the State depicts a dismal picture. Since Teacher Education is the most crucial component for Educational development, it is therefore necessary that this important area of education should be revamped. It further states "the existing teacher training Institute like BTCs, NTSs, and other training institutes which are imparting training to teachers at the Primary and the Upper Primary levels will not be closed down immediately. However steps will be taken to re-organise the Resource Persons/ Staff available with such training institutions with the operationalisation of the DIETs.
In the light of the recommendations of the Meghalaya Education Commission (1976 – 77), White Paper on Education and the State Programme of Action, 1995 the following maybe considered as Policy Statements.
- Review and revision of the programmes of the existing Training institutes and the need to training teachers for rural schools and to solve the backlog of untrained teachers.
- Minimum qualifications for teachers will have to be laid down for each level of school education and the lowest qualification should not be below trained matriculates HSSLC/SSLC passed
- A system will have to be created for evaluating the performance of teachers. In line with the NPE 1986 the system should be open, participative and data based with provision of reasonable opportunities for promotion to higher grades.
Various steps had been taken to implement the above policy decision. Seven DIETs have been set up in each of the seven districts of the State to offer a two year pre-service and in-service training to Elementary School Teachers. These DIETs also undertake extension services besides assisting the SSA programme especially its teacher training component. Those Teacher Educators from the BTCs and NTS who possess the required qualification have been absorbed in the DIETs.
- The Diets provide regular in-service and pre-service training programmes. They are to act as nodal agencies at the District level. However with the launching of SSA the Teacher Education in the State especially the DERT are expected to be actively involved in all academic matters relating to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programmes and activities which include short term training of teachers, training of Resource Person/ Coordinators of Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs), development of Teaching Learning Materials for SSA programmes, formulation of District Plans on education planning and monitoring of programmes related to EGS and AIE centres.
- Training of field inspecting staff and also Teacher Education at the Elementary level will be undertaken by DIETs. DIETs may also be entrusted with the task of supervising and inspecting Higher Secondary Schools.
- The existing Teacher Training Institutes such as the Basic Training Centres, Normal Training Schools and other existing Elementary Teacher Training Institutes are being integrated with the operationalisation of the DIETS wherever such Institutes were upgraded to the status of DIETs. However, in those cases where merger is not possible, the NCTE may be approached to allow such institutes to conduct training programmes for untrained, unqualified Primary Teachers inherited from the District Councils whose services cannot be terminated.
- It may also be mentioned that from 2004 the minimum qualification for primary school teacher had been prescribed as Class XII Passed. The practice of appointing untrained teachers first and deputing them for training at Teacher Training Institutes later on, however, needs to be addressed. The State has also conducted the Special Eligibility Test Examination in 2006 where aspiring teachers who have passed Class XII have to pass to make themselves eligible to teach in the Elementary Schools.
- Teacher Education is a continuous process and its pre-service and in-service components are inseparable. Also the standard of education depends largely upon the efficiency and motivation of teachers. I t will be necessary to upgrade the professional competence of teachers through provision of regular and adequate training facilities. Arrangements will have to be made so that teachers are oriented /trained once every three years to update their skills and knowledge of content.
- The present system of data collection and processing has to be modernized so that up-to-date data are readily available for all planning purposes to be carried out at the District level. The process of evaluation and monitoring also needs reorganization and strengthening.
- EDUSAT (Educational Satellite) Network Hub cum Studio, partly an ISRO initiative was inaugurated and launched in the DERT on the 30th June, 2008 with the objective of reaching high quality and up to date Educational Programmes to 50 Higher and Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Institutes of the State.
- The State Education Policy for Meghalaya was approved by the State Cabinet on 19" January, 2009 with one of the vision statements of the document being related to Teacher Education, wherein a two pronged approach to tackle the backlog of Un-trained teachers in the State has been envisioned; to recruit only Trained teachers in the future and to step up the process of the training of Un-trained teachers through the DIETS.