New Delhi: With the aim of improving the quality of teaching in the country, the central government has come up with a new manual for teachers, the National Professional Standard for Teachers (NPST).
The NPST draft policy, drawn up by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) — a body that is in charge of teachers’ education and training in the country — was released at the end of last month. It is currently open for public comment on the NCTE website, following which it will be presented to the Union Ministry of Education for approval.
The policy document aims to ensure that students at all levels are taught by “passionate, motivated, highly qualified and well-trained teachers”, and covers the expectations and competencies required from a teacher at different levels of experience at various stages of their career.
The NPST document covers all aspects of of a teacher’s career, including tenure, professional development efforts required over the years, salary increases, promotions, and other recognitions. “Career advancements and salary increments will not only occur based on the length of tenure or seniority but shall be based on appraisal,” explains the policy document.
It also categorises teaching staff into four groups, based on experience and expertise.
The policy will be reviewed and revised at a national level in 2030, and after every 10 years following that. It has been formulated in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020, which extensively referred to improving the standard of teachers in order to improve education standards in the country.
The central government had earlier tried to identify non-performing BEd colleges and extended the duration of the BEd programme. The entry-level qualification for school teachers in India, the BEd programme is now a four-year course, instead of the earlier duration of two years.
The first batch of the four-year programme will begin from the 2022-23 academic session.
Details of the NPST
The NPST focuses on preparation, practice and performance of teachers based on their category of experience.
It also mentions an annual assessment of teachers in every school, to be conducted by the NCTE. Teachers will have to undergo continuous skill upgrade and 50 hours of mandatory professional skill upgradation in a year, either online or offline, it suggests.
According to the NPST draft policy, a teacher’s career will be divided into four stages — beginner, proficient, expert and lead, according to their seniority.
A beginner-level teacher, according to the draft manual, is expected to display basic levels of teaching knowledge and grow in their career to reach the next level. The same is true of teachers in the subsequent levels of their career.
A beginner-level teacher — “Pragammi Shikshak” — is one who has just been hired at a school, after completing an MEd/BEd/diploma in education or any other qualification mandated by the NCTE.
At this stage, a new teacher will be expected to demonstrate competencies relating to the level for which they are trained. The new teacher shall be supported by in-school mentors to develop their teaching and in strengthening the knowledge acquired in their pre-service education.
This training will help a beginner-level teacher reach the next level — a proficient teacher or “Praveen Shikshak“. At this level, a teacher will be expected to be professionally independent in the application of skills vital to teaching and learning.
At the next level, expert teacher or “Kushal Shikshak“, a teacher will be expected to consistently display a high level of performance in their teaching practice and work collaboratively with colleagues. An expert teacher is also expected to support and mentor her junior colleagues.
The most senior level is that of lead teacher or “Pramukh Shikshak“. At this level, he or she will be expected to embody the highest standards of teaching, grounded in the best practices relating to the teaching-learning process.
“They will lead the teaching and learning and exhibit an exceptional capacity to improve their own teaching practice and that of others by developing learning communities in the schools,” the policy says.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)