It was a pleasure watching the conference sessions live online yesterday. I urge those of you who wanted to attend the conference but could not, to use this facility provided by British Council to watch it live and even take part in it by adding comments. You comments may get discussed.
I tuned in for some of the sessions. Some- like, ‘building skills for employability’- were gripping as well as hilarious. Especially the speech by Manish Sabharwal; was it eloquence epitomized! Some were eye openers–Policy implications for English teaching and learning. It was quite informative.
‘Policy implications for English teaching and learning’ dealt a lot with scenario in schools in different parts of India. I guess good English teaching and learning in schools will lead to ‘building employability skills’ in the long run! This points to the lacuna we have in India in this area.
Isn’t that one of the reasons that makes ‘building employability skills’ a necessity now? I have heard private school principals lamenting about the difficulty they face in recruiting good teachers. They have to place the good teachers in high school so that the 10th grade results are not compromised. So most often the worst teachers end up in the primary section.
Rod Bolitho, Academic Director of Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE), raised many questions which I felt are very relevant.
Some questions, about the shortage of English teachers in India, are listed below.
- How attractive is teaching as a career in India in general?
- What is the reason behind the English graduates choosing fields other than teaching as profession?
- Is there any appropriate formulated initiative in India to raise the number of English teachers in training?
- Has the government decided what the probable number of teachers required to be trained is in order to meet the demand in, maybe, the next 10 years?
- Are there enough institutions training teachers?
Some others, about the quality of English teachers/education, are below.
- What is the minimum qualification for school teachers? Is there any standardisation of qualification for the primary school teachers teaching English across India?
- In some states the minimum qualification set for the teachers of English is far lower than the others. So is bad English being perpetuated through the system?
- What type of pre-service training do they undergo?
- What kind of training is going on in pre-service level and how practical is it?
- Are the pre-service training institutions calibrated completely against the needs of the teachers?
- Are the skills of the teacher educator the skills which are needed to produce methodologically and linguistically competent teachers?
What is your opinion on these issues? Please write in your comments, would love to hear your ideas.