New Delhi: Private teacher training system is infested with "mediocrity" and "rampant corruption", a new draft policy of the HRD Ministry has said, recommending urgent closure of such institutes and replacing these with an integrated Bachelors in Education (B.Ed.) programme to be offered by universities.
Underlining that the "future of the nation is at stake", the draft National Education Policy (NEP) has said the closure of the private teacher training institutes should be done on a "mission mode" and backed with a sound legal approach by the constitution of a quasi-judicial body by the government to ensure its effective implementation.
"It must be carried out urgently because the future of the nation is truly at stake on this matter. If we let such fake colleges remain functional, the fundamentals of our schools, and the integrity and credibility of the teacher education system cannot be restored," it states.
The draft policy prepared by the government-appointed panel headed by eminent space scientist K. Kasturirangan said the teacher education sector has been beleaguered with "mediocrity as well as rampant corruption due to commercialisation".
"Most institutions today providing teacher education are small colleges in the private sector that offer only a single narrow programme, and where there is a general lack of commitment to the need for rigour and quality in teacher preparation," it says.
The draft policy, which has been uploaded on the MHRD's website for the public to provide suggestions, says the action to close down such institutions will have to be taken "with energy and will, in the face of every resistance".
It emphasises that by 2023, the country should only have the educationally sound teacher preparation programmes in operation, developing professionally competent teachers -- all others must be shut down.
"The progress on this mission will be reviewed by National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) every three months and by Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (RSA) every six months," it further adds.
The two bodies will be created by the Centre once the policy comes into place.
Quoting the report of the Supreme Court's high-powered Justice Verma Commission (JVC) on teacher education 2012, the report adds that a majority of standalone teacher training institutes are just selling degrees.
"A majority of these standalone teaching institutes -- over 10,000 in number -- are not even attempting serious teacher education, but are essentially selling degrees for a price."
Arguing that the standalone teacher education institutions cannot build the kind of varied faculty that good teacher education needs, the draft policy recommends transitioning to four-year multidisciplinary B.Ed. programme.
"The four-year integrated B.Ed. will, by 2030, become the minimal degree qualification for school teachers. All pre-service teacher education programmes will henceforth be offered only in multi-disciplinary higher educational institutions to satisfy the modern requirements of the teaching profession, and to give teachers the multidisciplinary exposure and education necessary to become outstanding teachers," the draft says.
Expounding upon the four-year programme, the draft policy adds that it will be be a dual-major liberal Bachelor's degree, in education as well as a specialised subject (such as a language, or history, music, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, economics, among others).
"All HEIs currently offering the two-year programmes, including the Diploma programmes, will be able to transition into multidisciplinary institutions offering the four-year integrated B.Ed. programme," it states.
The aptitude test to for the admission to this programme would be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). "This is in keeping with the principle of separating Board Examinations from official university entrance examinations, while the full criteria and process for admissions will be left to the universities and colleges offering these programmes," the draft policy added.
It further recommended each higher education institutes offering the four-year integrated B.Ed. to also design a two-year B.Ed. on its campus, for outstanding students who have already received a Bachelor's degree and wish to pursue teaching.