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Six Ways In Which School Teachers Must Be Trained Differently

Teachers are the single most important individuals who play a key role in imparting education to young citizens; the dichotomy of being professional but humane towards students at the same time is a prerequisite. It is a well-established fact that teacher-education and school-education are codependent on each other, hence, until and unless both the aspects are carried out in accordance, then are bound to be severe inconsistencies. This can get reflected in the academic performances of the students who would not perform well in the examinations.

The Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 along with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 have collaboratively devised a framework to address issues such as inclusive education, approaches for equitable and sustainable development, gender sensitivity in studies, the role of community knowledge, as well as the role of information and communication in schooling and e-learning.

The framework highlights the need to employ highly qualified and trained teachers in both elementary as well as secondary educational institutes. The lack of quality learning can be attributed to a lack of teacher competence and student motivation. A few of the significant components that make up teachers’ education are as follows:

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  • Time taken for academic preparation
  • The level and quality of the knowledge of subject-matter
  • Types of pedagogical skills a teacher possesses to fulfil individual student needs and manage varied learning situations
  • The level of commitment towards the profession
  • The degree of sensitivity towards contemporary issues and problems
  • The level of motivation for the teacher to seamlessly apply the curriculum within the classroom
  • All-round development of the child
  • Bolstering the knowledge, potentiality and talent of students
  • Enabling the child to express their thoughts and opinions free of anxiety, fear, doubts or insecurities
  • Comprehensive and continuous evaluation of the child to assess if they have understood whatever has been taught within the class
  • Development of physical and mental abilities

A few of the major concerns and reforms mentioned in the National Curriculum Framework for teachers are as follows:

Elementary And Secondary Teacher Education

The initial training for elementary teachers suffers due to isolation, stagnation and low profile. It should also be noted that this training is not given much importance because it is a non-degree programme. Hence, it has been directed that the initial teacher education is upgraded by enhancing entry-level qualification and making it at par with other degree programmes.

During the improvement of elementary teacher education, some of the key points that need to be kept in mind are curriculum planning that includes equal participation of all stakeholders and elaborate organisation of the curriculum. This should ensure the inclusion of a practical approach as well as a theoretical approach guided by a professional perspective. This can only be accomplished if the degree programme’s duration is extended for a four-year or two-year integrated model.

Secondary teacher education equally needs to be reassessed as the one-year second B.Ed. model seems to have become irrelevant in the current scenario. The weak course structures and short duration are further worsened due to increasing privatisation and commercialisation. Other prevalent issues that continue to poison secondary teacher education include academic stagnation, resistance to change, inadequate infrastructure, intellectually impoverished environments etc.

Inclusive Education

Due to a lack of sufficient preparation, teachers are not able to cope with situations that demand them to address diversity within the classroom. Hence, an exclusion that is projected on two different kinds of students are as follows:

  • Children with different kinds of disabilities or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
  • Social exclusion of children who belong to economically deprived backgrounds such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes other minor communities.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection and Full Participation) Act, 1996 (or PWD Act) ensures free and compulsory education to all children with disabilities. But to make this act successful, teachers’ education institutions need to revise their programme courses.

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Teachers bear the significant responsibility of ensuring equal access to education to all irrespective of caste, gender or any other disability. That is how an integrated school setting can be created that provides equal opportunities to all children.

The Role Of Community Knowledge In Education

The emphasis on bookish knowledge has long been the epicentre of the educational system; it is exceedingly important to incorporate community knowledge along with school knowledge. According to one of the guidelines provided by the NCF, including locally relevant content within the curriculum will only serve to promote awareness about social geography.

Institutions should provide opportunities for the teachers to increase teachers’ capacity to inculcate aspects of the local community such as agriculture, local occupations, local folk culture, festivals, etc. within the classroom. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the core subjects and their practical applications in real life align with the learning outcomes.

Information And Communication Technology In Schools And E-Learning

Technology has become an inseparable part of all businesses and the education sector is not bereft of that. However, in order to successfully integrate technology in school education is a challenge. Often, the teacher’s lack of knowledge in operating devices and applications poses a major concern for teachers and students alike.

Teachers’ education must ensure the orientation of teachers towards the common and basic usage of ICT in learning and teaching. At the same time, it is helpful to remember that overdependence on technology can prove to be detrimental in terms of discouraging the students to invest time in executing tasks by themselves.

The recent global health crisis has enforced a shift towards digital learning but at the same time, it has given a rise to growing concerns regarding productive learning. With the operation of remote learning as the new normal, teachers should be trained adequately to use ERP solutions for the betterment of the students.

Education Of Teachers In Health And Physical Education

Given the overall development of the student’s health, physical education and yoga need to be constituted within the framework from primary to senior secondary school levels. The subject includes not just physical education but also personal health, psycho-social development, movement concepts and motor skills, and interpersonal relationships.

Education Of Teachers For Vocational Stream

Vocational teacher preparation programmes have always been neglected and relegated in the past, hence, it has become imperative to conduct course correction in this regard. Institutions need to come up with a separate action plan to implement high-quality instructional inputs in various vocational areas.

A design, along with elaborative strategy, needs to be framed after consultation with professional institutions concerning engineering and technology, agriculture, health and paramedical, and Technical Teacher Training Institutes (TTTIs).

Conclusion

Teachers shape the future of the children, hence, they have the responsibility to educate children in a wholesome manner. It is imperative to change the widely acknowledged public opinion that states that the present system of formal schooling puts excessive burden on children. The NCF directs all stakeholders to not treat education as a mechanical activity of information transmission but rather a process for developing knowledge and illuminating oneself.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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