There are a number of issues affecting teachers and teacher education today. These are listed below:

  •  Lack of initiatives and mechanisms that explicitly aim to recruit the best performing students, or those that have the most talent for teaching, into the teaching profession. In particular, current teacher recruitment does not involve any interviews or classroom demonstrations that assess motivation and passion.
  •  Quality teacher education is severely lacking and indeed in a crisis at the current time. There are approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, of which over 92 per cent are privately owned. Various in-depth studies have shown that a large proportion of these teaching colleges are not even attempting to provide a good education. Moreover, many teacher education institutions are 'stand-alone' teaching colleges; thus, despite their good intentions, they generally do not have the capability of providing teacher education that includes a strong pedagogical and practicum training.
  •  Next major issue is that of deployment of teachers. According to government data, the country faces over 10 lakh teacher vacancies— a large proportion of them in rural areas— leading to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs) that are even larger than 60:1 in certain areas. Even more worrisome than the problem of PTRs in some areas is the issue of lack of teachers in schools across the necessary subjects.
  •  Associated with the challenge of deployment of teachers is the sudden and unpredictable transfers to which teachers and indirectly their students and schools are often subjected. Losing teachers suddenly can have harmful effects on students, and their learning. Transfers also prevent teachers from becoming truly invested in and building relationships with the schools and communities in which they serve. Hence, stability of tenure of teachers must be ensured for better and enhanced educational outcomes.
  •  Lack of sufficient infrastructure, resources, and supplies are other impediments that affect the availability of teachers, especially in rural India. Lack of safe drinking water, working toilets, and electricity in some schools pose grave challenges for effective learning to take place. In addition, there is a lack of availability in support mechanisms and structures that can help support teachers in their duties.
  •  In Spite of the Right to Education Act mandating teachers not to indulge in non teaching activities, teachers are often asked to spend large portions of their time on these activities, such as midday meal preparation, administrative tasks, data management, etc. This prevents teachers from concentrating on their actual teaching jobs.
  •  Education sector is a rapidly changing industry. A teacher needs to be constantly updated with the best teaching practices and methodologies that have proven to be useful. This means evaluating and reflecting one's pedagogical skills by adopting novel and innovative techniques. The system does not promote constant update of teaching skills and capacity building in such a way that it does not lead to training fatigue. The high performing countries keep professional development and training as the top most priority and conduct regular rigorous in-house training to improve the quality of teaching.
  •  Finally issues like salary, promotion, etc, in the school system are hardly based on merit and competence. There is a dire need to revisit and overhaul service conditions and career management to restore the high status of the teaching profession. This will facilitate productivity and efficiency on the part of teachers.

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Courtesy: Kurukshetra