Arjun For 'Strict Check' on private teacher schools

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New Delhi, Aug 18 (UNI) With private players venturing into teacher education, rigorous enforcement of norms was stressed as India's 13-year-old teacher education council marked its foundation day today.

''A strict check'' was underscored by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh ''on such teacher education institutions, which have a dubious record of performance.'' The National Council for Teacher Education became a statutory body in 1995-- following the NCTE Act 1993-- with a mandate to maintain standards and check commercialisation of teacher training programmes.

Absenteeism is one of key problem areas of Indian teachers, who are already short in number as compared to the requirement.

Speaker after speaker, led by Mr Singh, whose statement was read out in absentia, stressed rigorous enforcement of standards as private participation grows.

The event was attended by Minister of State for HRD M A A Fatimi, NCTE Chairman M A Siddiqui and former North-Eastern Hill University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mrinal Miri.

Mr Singh reminded the NCTE of its mandate-- to maintain standards and check commercialisation of teacher training programmes.

''I wish, on this occasion NCTE and its authorities introspect as to what extent this apex organisation has been able to deliver what was expected of it by the mandate given to it by ... Parliament.'' Mr Singh called for institutionalising and enforcing ''a rigorous mechanism'' of implementing norms of quality and qualification of teachers and teacher educators as defined by the 1993 NCTE Act.

''In the context of private participation in teacher education programmes, the quality aspect and continued maintenance of the norms and standards assumes great significance.'' He noted a phenomenal rise in the number of self-financed teacher education institutions by private bodies which ''have taken full advantage of the provisions of NCTE Act.'' He said while private participation was welcome, apprehensions had arisen warranting ''a strict check on such teacher education institutions, which have a dubious record of performance.'' ''In some quarters, an apprehension has been felt that the NCTE has to keep a strict check on such teacher education institutions, which have a dubious record of performance.'' Mr Singh also emphasised a need for laying down transparent procedure of recognition to teacher education institutions.

He said this was paramount in order to create public trust that the NCTE's working as a regulatory body is up to the mark.

Mr Singh's remarks were read out by Prof Siddiqui as the Minister could not attend the function due to ''unavoidable circumstances,'' an HRD Ministry statement said.

Mr Fatimi highlighted the role of teachers in life-- for individual excellence, for all-round development of education and in nation-building.

He spoke about the need for qualitative improvement in education, especially teacher education and suggested having a comprehensive plan for the same.

He pointed out that better teacher education was a pre-condition to any real education reform and asked the NCTE to keep a watch on ''various kinds of deficiencies'' so as to help produce quality teachers and quality education.

Mr Fatimi also acknowledged regional imbalances in availability of teacher training institutions and asked the NCTE to ensure against such imbalances.

Resource Books for teacher educators on environmental education, prepared in collaboration with the Ahmedabaqd-based Centre for Environment Education, were released, and audience told by Prof Siddiqui about NCTE initiatives.

UNI MJ GT BST2038

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