CTET, TET will be reformed in line with new school structure: NCTE chief

The NCTE is also planning expansion of the ITEP with yoga, physical education, reform of D.El.Ed and stricter regulation of teacher training.

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Pankaj Arora, chairperson, NCTE. (Image: Careers360)Pankaj Arora, chairperson, NCTE. (Image: Careers360)

Shradha Chettri | June 17, 2024 | 12:19 PM IST

NEW DELHI: In May, Delhi University’s dean of the Faculty of Education, Pankaj Arora was appointed as chairperson of the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE), the body which regulates teacher education in the country. With 27 years of experience in the field of education, Arora spoke with Careers360 about his plans for teacher education. These include speeding up the implementation of the four-year Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP) and introducing a one-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed). Plus, the NCTE has set up a committee to align the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) with the new school system. He also spoke about stricter regulation to maintain the quality of teaching education and stressed on the need to promote teaching education as a first career choice among students.

Q.NCTE for the last several years hasn’t had a regular chairperson. The ones who have remained were looking after it as an additional charge. Now that you have taken charge, what are your plans for teacher education?

A.As outlined by the education minister, policy implementation will be sped up. So, in teacher education the programme we carried out the Integrated Teachers Education Programme (ITEP) in the pilot phase. Now, in the light of policy ITEP will be promoted.

The Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) will be firmed up and aligned with the new school system as per the four stages. Right now, it is there for two stages, primary and middle. A committee has been constituted for it.

Q.The Integrated Teachers Education Programme (ITEP) was started by NCTE last year. What was the need to bring it?

A.ITEP is the premiere teachers education programme, which the National Education Policy has envisioned to be there by the year 2030. In 2023, we admitted the first batch of ITEP in 42 institutions across the country.

This programme is going to be the premiere programme for multiple reasons. It has a very good integration of subject knowledge and pedagogy, which was missing earlier. Earlier, students with BA programmes and the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) programme took care of pedagogy. Now a four-year programme will take care of both the components. It is the best thing. In ITEP it is not just integration of curriculum and pedagogy, but also of the Indian ethos, Indian knowledge system, educational technology competencies and skills, and an IT-based orientation.

Q.What are the important features of ITEP?

A.In ITEP, there are discipline-specific components, where you can opt for two subjects. Like political science or English (one social science and language). You can have vertical mobility with ITEP. We allow students multiple entry and exit. It is up to you but one [of the two subjects] has to be your major of 48 credits.

In the seventh semester, there is an internship, teaching at the school, which is for 20 credits. Not only internship there is also a component of community engagement of 2 credits in the eight semester. Students need to work in the community. It is compulsory. School education curriculum has already been aligned with the National Curriculum Framework as released by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). In ITEP, there are four pedagogy courses; earlier, there were only two. We have also given freedom to institutes that they can go up to 176 credits.

With ITEP, the courses are stage-specific, for instance at one DU college, they have middle and secondary stages.

In DU, from this year, the faculty of education is coming up with ITEP for the senior secondary stage. Now, men can also take admission in the programme. Earlier teacher education was only in women’s colleges.

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Q.What are the newer components being added to ITEP?

A.We are also planning and have had a meeting with the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) to map a few vocational courses suitable for teacher education. This has also been initiated.

We believe that teachers should also be equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Teachers should be equipped and trained to address the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) – AI based assignment, projects and even dissertations now. We want our teachers to be prepared and overcome that.

School-based ITEP has already been launched; now, ITEP on physical education, ITEP on yoga education and ITEP on Sanskrit education are in the pipeline.

Q. What has been the experience of the institutes teaching this programme?

A.The first phase was launched as a pilot, for that matter, even the second phase. We are going into the third year of 2025-26 as pilots but, at the same time, we are documenting feedback. We are talking to the institutions continuously and trying to make it effective as per the needs of the school system.

The challenges were mostly teething troubles, not major ones. The institutes had some issues with the admission counselling process, as it was the first year of centralised admission.

This year, we have 40,231 applicants for admission to ITEP in 64 institutions.

Q.NCTE has invited applications from institutes to start ITEP courses. What has been the response?

A.In the fourth phase, we got a very good number of applications, 750 or even more. The process of recognition will be initiated by NCTE. These are newer institutes. 750 are the ones who already had some kind of teacher education programme; it is a phase of transition. For them the process of inspection is already ongoing, as per ITEP regulation.

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Q. What happens to other teacher education programmes?

A.For the time being, the other programmes of teacher education, like the two-year B.Ed and others, will continue for some time, but gradually, we are trying to bring them into ITEP.

Q.ITEP is for students straight out of school. What was the thought behind it?

It is a challenge that the younger generation was not interested in teaching. ITEP is opening doors for people at a younger stage, just like they decide for the medical profession and engineering.

We also have plans to reach schools during the career counselling sessions and orient the students. NCTE will be working on this.

Q.There are teacher training courses right after school, offered by the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET). What will be their future?

The courses offered at DIETs are two-year diploma courses on elementary teacher education. What will happen to these courses can’t be discussed now. However, as per the NEP 2020 guidelines, the government is planning changes to it as well. The courses in DIETs also need to be relooked at, revisited.

The policy also states that by 2030 there will be three major teacher education programmes – four-year ITEP, two-year B.Ed for those who complete a three-year graduation and one-year B.Ed for those who complete a four-year graduation or masters.

Q.Private teacher education institutes are sprouting all across the country and serious questions are being raised about their quality. How is NCTE addressing this issue?

A.There are institutions compromising the quality of teacher education.

When we receive complaints or thorough observations, we also derecognise institutes. The annual performance review, PAR, will be reintroduced in June itself. Along with that, we will be working to develop some mechanism where we can identify such institutes through public alert or media. We will be taking action.

We are planning to have a system in place. Like the University Grants Commission (UGC) announces fake universities every year, we are also planning to develop a system where we can identify such institutes or universities and take action against them.

Q.What has been the response to the National Mission for Mentoring launched by NCTE?

A.It is one-on-one mentoring. So far, 60 mentors are registered. As a mentee you can go there and see the specialisation of the mentors and approach them for a session and discussion. Recently, we concluded a session on this and National Professional Standard for Teachers (NPST) for 50,000 teachers of PM Shri schools. We have plans to orient more teachers starting with the north and south zones ..

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