There was a broad agreement among vice-chancellors of state/central/deemed and private universities that BEd/MEd course should have the duration of two years each. The VCs also were of the view that teacher education - from primary to higher secondary — should be part of the university system.
HRD minister Smriti Z Irani told VCs to discuss teacher education in the context of Justice JS Varma committee report. She told that there should be more cooperation between school, university and teacher education. Irani also stressed on skill development and asked universities to fill vacancies in teacher education department before February meeting of VCs to be called by President Pranab Mukherjee.
But there were enough concerns raised by few VCs and it was felt that the reform in teacher education should not be rushed through without some more rounds of consultation. "Response of VCs was positive and they are open to make this paradigm shift in higher education. But dismantling the existing corrupt and inefficient regime will be difficult," a source said.
One VC of central university said at present teacher education is fragmented. There is certificate and diploma in early childhood care and education to prepare teachers at the pre-primary stage. At elementary level there is two-year diploma in elementary education programme and four-year bachelor of elementary education. At secondary level there are five types of programmes throughout the country: from one year BEd to two-year BEd to four-year integrated BSc/BEd course.
"This needs to change," one VC said.
VCs were asked to open departments of education and treat it as a mainstream discipline. It was felt that since elementary teacher education programmes are not conducted by the universities, the certifying authorities are by and large the various school boards, a policy that is on since the British period.
Non-collegiate level certification, in a way, continues the image of elementary school teaching as a 'rather unspecialised' field. This in turn affects teachers pride in the profession and consequently their performance.