The New Education Policy (NEP) does change the way of learning right from the school days. As this article listed, we already know some of the fundamental shifts at the primary level itself. We came to know that the focus will be on skills and mathematical thinking. Co-curriculum subjects like sports, vocational, arts, commerce, science, everything will be at the same level. Students can opt for courses as per choice. There will be an opportunity for children to learn local skills through internship like carpenter, sculptor etc.,
While all these paint a promising picture of the future, one may want to ask – where do the teachers stand in the scheme of things? Because it is the teachers that are largely responsible at the implementation end who make all the fine prints in the policy book workable in reality. As primary education is the foundation in developing child’s capability, the NEP also needs to be looked at from teachers’ perspective and not just about what new things the children are offered with.
The New Education Policy indeed deals in detail on this aspect. Some of the elements that attracted our attention are these:
Teaching Opportunity in Rural Areas
The Policy states, “to ensure that outstanding students enter the teaching profession – especially from rural areas – a large number of merit-based scholarships shall be instituted across the country for studying quality 4- year integrated B.Ed. programmes. In rural areas, special merit-based scholarships will be established that also include preferential employment in their local areas upon successful completion of their B.Ed. programmes.”
Bringing Transparency to Transfer System
The policy promises to halt excessive transfer of teachers. It states, “Transfers will occur in very special circumstances, as suitably laid down in a structured manner by State/UT governments. Furthermore, transfers will be conducted through an online computerized system that ensures transparency.”
Selection of Teachers
The policy states, “Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs) will be strengthened to inculcate better test material, both in terms of content and pedagogy. To gauge passion and motivation for teaching, a classroom demonstration or interview will become an integral part of teacher hiring at schools and school complexes.”
Schools/school complexes will be encouraged to hire local eminent persons or experts as ‘master instructors’ in various subjects, such as in traditional local arts, vocational crafts, entrepreneurship, agriculture, or any other subject where local expertise exists.
Since NEP talks about introducing coding at the sixth standard, it is obvious that teachers with the relevant technical knowledge will be needed. The policy states, “a technology-based comprehensive teacher-requirement planning forecasting exercise will be conducted by each State to assess expected subject-wise teacher vacancies over the next two decades.”
Reducing Non-teaching Duties
As a good measure of relief for the teacher community, the policy says, “teachers will not be involved in strenuous administrative tasks and more than a rationalized minimum time for mid-day meal related work, so that they may fully concentrate on their teaching-learning duties.”
The policy has assured that a robust merit-based structure of tenure, promotion, and salary structure will be developed, with multiple levels within each teacher stage, that incentivizes and recognizes outstanding teachers.
A common guiding set of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by 2022, by the National Council for Teacher Education in its restructured new form as a Professional Standard Setting Body (PSSB) under the General Education Council (GEC). This body will set an appraisal system. So, the salary raises and promotions will depend not just on length of tenure or seniority, but other performance parameters too.
By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy and includes strong practicum training in the form of student-teaching at local schools.
Going by the NEP, the role of a teacher is going to be elevated to a new level and it may attract diverse talent for the profession in the years to come.