Policy reforms, challenges and emerging trends in the professional development of teachers in India

Year: 2018

Author: Khan, Atiya

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher professional development in India is beset with issues of quality, access and equity. There are no effective formal systems and mechanisms to support teacher development. The government’s centrally sponsored scheme, namely the INSET program, is the sole intervention for teacher professional development and is largely ineffective; the nature, structure and content of which are poorly managed, intermittent, inadequate and insufficient, as reported in the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education. Likewise, the state sponsored programs follow a large-scale model, are commonly one-off and fail to address the learning needs of teachers (Bolitho & Padwad, 2012). Not to mention, such sponsored programs and schemes only cater to teachers in government and government-aided schools in India. Institutional mechanisms that support professional development of private school teachers are uneven, or, in many cases, non-existent. Teachers in India have very limited prospects, autonomy and agency for their professional development. In recent years, there is a growing interest in India among policy makers, education authorities and institutions in the use of social and collaborative models for teacher learning as mediums for improving quality of teacher professional development and ensuring equitable access (Menon, 2012). Globalisation and major developments in communication technologies are reshaping communities and creating transnational systems of networks for education reform (Rizvi, 2014). My PhD study focuses on the potential of one such network, the Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Project, for improving the quality of and access to teacher professional development in India. Participants were teachers and principals from eight BRIDGE schools in India. This presentation highlights the current policy reforms and challenges in teacher professional development in India, the emerging trends in collaboration and networking for teacher development, and key findings of my study. Findings reveal that the BRIDGE program was interpreted by teachers and principals as mainly a medium for internationalising student learning and the school culture. Their interpretations about the nature and purpose of the program undermined its potential for teacher professional development. I conclude with a discussion of some implications arising from the findings. Bolitho, R., & Padwad, A. (Eds.). (2012). Continuing professional development: Lessons from India. New Delhi, India: British Council. Menon, M. (2012). CPD through social networking amongst Indian school teachers: An action research. In R. Bolitho & A. Padwad (Eds.), Continuing professional development: Lessons from India (pp. 80-87). New Delhi, India: British Council. Rizvi, F. (2014). Encountering education in the global: The selected works of Fazal Rizvi. London: Routledge.