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Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education and Teacher Education-GK PDF

Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education and Teacher Education-GK PDF


Entry into quality higher education experiences can open up a vast array of possibilities which can lift both individuals as well as communities out of cycles of disadvantage. For this reason, making high-quality higher education opportunities available to all individuals, regardless of circumstances of birth, must be among the highest priorities.

Many of the reasons for, and the dynamics of, exclusion of certain groups are common across school and higher education. Therefore, the approach to equity and inclusion must be common across school and higher education; furthermore, there must be continuity across the stages to ensure a sustainable reform. Thus, the policy initiatives required to meet the goals of equity and inclusion in higher education must be read in conjunction with those for school education.

There are of course certain facets of exclusion, both causal and in their effect, that are particular to or substantially more intense in higher education - these must be addressed specifically for higher education, for all URGs - and include: lack of knowledge of higher education op-portunities, aspirational distancing of higher education, economic opportunity cost of pursuing higher education, overall expenses, admission processes, language barriers, economic potential of programmes, and lack of within-institutions facilities and support.

The policy for equity and inclusion in higher education must therefore contain and continue the policy actions for school education, but also include additional actions that are specific to higher education. Such additional policy initiatives for equity and inclusion in higher education include:

setting clear targets for higher GER for URGs;

1] enhancing access by building more high-quality HEIs in Special Education Zones containing larger numbers of URGs;
2] requiring Institutional Development Plans that contain specific plans for action on increasing participation from URGs, including:
3] mitigating opportunity costs and fees for pursuing higher education;
4] providing more financial assistance and scholarships to URGs;
5] conducting outreach on higher education opportunities and scholarships among URGs;
6] making admissions processes more inclusive;
7] making curriculum more inclusive;
8] increasing economic and employability potential of higher education programmes;
9] developing more degree courses in Indian languages and bilingually;
10] ensuring all buildings and facilities are wheelchair-accessible;
11] developing bridge courses for those students that may come from disadvantaged educational backgrounds;
12] providing socio-emotional and academic support for all such students through suitable counselling and mentoring programmes.

Teacher Education

Teacher education is truly vital in creating the team of school teachers that will shape the next generation. Teacher preparation is an activity that requires multidisciplinary perspectives and knowledge, the formation of dispositions and values, and the development of practice under the best mentors. Teachers must be grounded in Indian values, languages, knowledge, ethos, and traditions, while also being well-versed in the latest advances in education and pedagogy.

Heartbreakingly, the teacher education sector has been beleaguered with mediocrity as well as rampant corruption due to commercialisation. According to the Justice J S Verma Commission (2012) constituted by the Supreme Court, a majority of standalone teaching institutes over 10,000 in number - are not even attempting serious teacher education, but are essentially selling degrees for a price. Regulatory efforts so far have neither been able to curb the corruption rampant in the system, nor enforce basic standards for quality, and in fact have had the negative effect of curbing the growth of excellence and innovation in the sector. The sector and its regulatory system are therefore in urgent need of revitalisation through radical action, in order to raise standards and restore integrity, credibility, efficacy, and high quality to the teacher education system.

In order to improve and reach the levels of integrity and credibility required to restore the prestige of the teaching profession and thereby attain a successful school system, substandard and dysfunctional teacher education institutions (TEI) that do not meet basic educational criteria must and will be shut down. This effort will be launched in a mission mode by MoE with strong political will, positive administrative intent, and an effective implementation strategy. All TEIs will be held accountable to adherence to the basic criteria for approval of their programmes; after giving one year for remedy, if any breaches are found, they will be shut down if the breaches are not remedied. There must be a sound legal approach developed to ensure this enforcement is carried out effectively. By 2023, India should have only educationally sound teacher preparation programmes in operation, developing professionally competent teachers.

Because teacher education requires multidisciplinary inputs and a marriage of high-quality content and pedagogy, all teacher preparation must be conducted within composite multidisci-plinary institutions. To this end, all large multidisciplinary universities - including all public universities as well as all Model Multidisciplinary Colleges - will aim to establish, develop, and house outstanding education departments which, aside from carrying out cutting-edge research in various aspects of education, will also run B.Ed. programmes to educate future teachers, in collaboration with other departments such as psychology, philosophy, sociology, neuroscience, Indian languages, arts, history, and literature, as well as various other specialised subjects such as science and mathematics. Moreover, all independent TEIs will be required to convert to mul-tidisciplinary institutions by 2030, since they will have to offer the 4-year integrated teacher preparation programme.

The 4-year integrated B.Ed. offered by such multidisciplinary HEIs will, by 2030, become the minimal degree qualification for school teachers. By 2030, every HEI offering a teacher education programme will be multidisciplinary and offer the 4-year integrated B.Ed. programme. The 4-year integrated B.Ed. will 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, etc.). Each HEI offering the 4-year integrated B.Ed. may also design a 2-year B.Ed. on its campus, for outstanding students who have already received a Bachelor’s degree in a specialised subject and wish to pursue teaching. Scholarships for meritorious students will be established for the purpose of attracting outstanding candidates to both the 4-year and 2-year B.Ed. programmes. A 1-year B.Ed. may be designed for particularly outstanding candidates who have received a 4-year B.L.A./B.L.E. undergraduate degree in a specialised subject.

Multidisciplinary higher educational institutions will work towards establishing high-quality education departments and teacher education programmes, and will be strongly supported by government funding to achieve this goal. Such HEIs will ensure the availability of a range of ex-perts in education and related disciplines as well as specialised subjects. Each higher educational institution will have a network of government and private schools and school complexes to work with in close proximity, where potential teachers will student-teach (among other synergistic ac-tivities between HEIs and school complexes, such as community service, adult and vocational education, etc.). Such HEIs will develop holistic teacher education programmes based on their academic subject strengths related to education as well as in specialised subjects. Beyond the teaching of cutting-edge pedagogy will include grounding in sociology, history, science, psy-chology, early childhood education, foundational literacy and numeracy, knowledge of India and its values/ethos/art/traditions, and more.

Admission to pre-service teacher preparation programmes, like all HEI admissions, will be carried out in large part through subject and aptitude tests as conducted by the National Testing Agency.The faculty profile in Departments of Education will necessarily aim to be diverse. Not everyone would be required to have a Ph.D., but teaching experience and field research experience will be highly valued. Faculty with training in areas of social sciences that are directly relevant to school education (e.g., psychology, child development, linguistics, sociology, philosophy/political science) as well as from science education, mathematics education, social science education, and language education programmes will be attracted and retained in teacher education institutions, to strengthen multidisciplinary education of teachers and provide rigour in conceptual development.

All fresh Ph.D. entrants, irrespective of discipline, will be required to have taken 8-credit courses in teaching / education / pedagogy related to their chosen Ph.D. subject during their doctoral training period. Exposure to pedagogic practices, designing curriculum, credible evaluation systems, and so on will be ensured, since many research scholars will go on to become faculty. Ph.D. students will also have a minimum number of hours of actual teaching experience gathered through teaching assistantships and other means. Ph.D. programmes at universities around the country must be re-oriented for this purpose. Opportunities for Ph.D. students to assist faculty as teaching assistants must be created as part of all Ph.D. programmes.

In-service continuous professional development for college and university teachers will continue at the Academic Staff Colleges, recently renamed as Human Resource Development Centres (HRDCs); however, these centres will be integrated completely into the universities that presently host them, instead of being seen as external entities as they are now. They wil also be incorporated in the Regional Institutes of Education (RIEs) of NCERT. The HRDCs will either become into the Department of Education if one already exists, or become the seed for creating such a Department.
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