The government is introducing a four-year integrated Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) programme from next year onwards with an aim to improve the quality of teachers and teaching, This was announced by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar early this year. Early last year, the government had stated that the 2-year Bachelor of Education might soon be dropped in favour of a 4-year integrated teacher training programme. Monarose Sheila Pereira speaks to various professionals for their expert comments on the subject.
Shamim Mistry, Tution Teacher
According to me, the four-year integrated B.Ed course is definitely a very good decision made by the government. It will boost the quality of teaching and will go in depth with the best teaching practices which will directly up the teaching standards. Also, aspiring teachers will have the benefit of a freshly revised, revamped and holistic teaching format. The students in an integrated teaching course have the benefit of having a degree which meets the international norms for teacher training programmes across the globe. I think it is an absolute win-win situation for the student and teachers who enroll for this course. The teaching - learning world in India will have a whole new dimension because of this verdict.
Prof Ruby Pavri, Head of Department of Psychology, St. Xavier's College.
When I did my B.Ed in 1994-95, it was a single year course with a balance of classroom learning and practice teaching in schools. The issue raised at that time was related to our major subject at graduation (psychology) which was not a subject taught at the school level, but at junior college.
The basics we learnt about educational philosophy, educational psychology or educational technology were all relevant, but had to be adapted to the content and context of our individual teaching positions.
Making the B.Ed an integrated four year course is an interesting, however challenging proposition. In my opinion, two of the potential challenges are to do with the target population and the framing of a relevant four year syllabus. For instance, will the syllabus in arts be an introduction to all arts subjects with no depth or specialization in any one major? If there is a major, can it be a non-school subject like sociology? How will it distribute the focus on comprehension of subject content and the teaching of the content? Also, the target population of 16-year-old students who have just completed their standard twelve may not be absolutely sure of the career path they want to follow.
Finally, there is the challenge of recruiting and retaining good faculty to teach such a course. I believe B.Ed teachers have been trained in education (M.Ed) rather than specific subject knowledge. Their training will also need restructuring.
Aakanksha Kanojia, Counselling psychologist,
Making a two-year B.Ed. programme into four doesn’t make it more remunerating. In fact, remuneration is directly proportional to the quality of students opting for any course. So, what is required to make this integrated course student’s first choice?
To increase placements, we need to set up professional placement committees in colleges parallelly building a case for better-paid teachers in schools. Today, better-paid teachers are not B.Ed grads, but Masters in specialised (H) subjects like IT, English, Science, mathematics etc., so who are we comparing? especially when there is no evidence of an increase in remuneration because of making B.Ed from one year to two. So, I appreciate this move, whereas I also feel this is just a piece of a larger jigsaw puzzle with many pieces missing.
Madhuri D'Souza, Head Mistress, Supari Tank Municipal English School
While it is to be lauded that the government seems to be keenly interested in the quality of education imparted to students, whether the new proposal to introduce an integrated four-year teacher molding programme or B.Ed as it is popularly known, will bring about a striking difference is debatable. It is true that the current 2-year programme is viewed by many as a quick career switch option from mundane corporate jobs or as an easy career path for many young girls. I would say only a niche percentage of teachers choose to be teachers because they really wanted to, hence the implementation of the mandatory 4-year course might dissuade quite a many aspirants. Looking on the brighter side, this would significantly widen the exposure of our future teachers to the many aspects of the art of teaching and would encourage only serious career seekers to join the course thus giving us better teachers and our children finer sculptors.
Dinesh Bhambhani, MMK College
Yes, it is definitely a good idea as the quality of education will improve with better qualified teachers. However, with integrated system introduced in B.Ed course, the new syllabus should be framed in a more practical manner rather than theory oriented. The first place teachers should teach with new adopted innovative techniques so that younger understand it more easily and it also enhances the value of education. Today's generation prefers education should be more of job-oriented.
Nedra Henriques, Teacher
It is a good decision if one is able to pursue the same post class XII as it will save one year. However, the 2-year duration course shouldn't be scrapped off. In today's situation, there are lack of job opportunities and even postgraduates fail to be employed or are underemployed as well as underpaid. The question arises if one will get a well-paid job even after putting in four years of hard work?