In-service education can play a significant role in the
professional growth of teachers and function as an
agent for change in school-related practices. It helps
teachers gain confidence by engaging with their
practices and reaffirming their experiences. It provides
opportunities to engage with other teachers
professionally and to update knowledge. The Education
Commission (1964–66) recommended that in-service
education for teachers should be organised by
universities and teacher organisations to enable every
teacher to receive two or three months of in-service
education once in five years; that such programmes
should be based on research inputs; that training
institutions should work on a 12-month basis and
organise programmes like refresher courses, seminars,
workshops and summer institutes. The Report of the
National Commission on Teachers (1983–85) mooted
the idea of Teachers\’ Centres that could serve as meeting
places, where talent could be pooled and teaching
experiences shared. It suggested that teachers could go
to centres of learning on study leave. The NPE (1986)
linked in-service and pre-service teacher education on
a continuum;
it visualised the establishment of District
Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) in each
district, upgradation of 250 colleges of education as
Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs), and
establishment of 50 Institutes of Advanced Studies in
Education (IASEs), and strengthening of the State
Councils of Educational Research and Training
(SCERTs). The Acharya Ramamurthi Review
Committee (1990) recommended that in-service and
refresher courses should be related to the specific needs
of teachers, and that evaluation and follow-up should
be part of the scheme.
In places where multigrade schools have been
established in order to facilitate access to primary
schooling, teachers need special training in managing
such classrooms, which must be conducted by those
who have experience in classroom management and
organisation for these classes. Prescriptions on how to
manage, without the support of appropriate materials,
or guidance in planning units and topics, does little to
assist teachers whose experience and imagination is
completely oriented to the monograde setting. Instead
of being merely told what to do, detailed unit planning
exercises, along with direct practical experiences in
places where multigrade class teaching practices have
become established, and films depicting such situations,
need to be used in training and for helping teachers
overcome their lack of confidence.
Initiatives and Strategies for In-Service
Following NPE 1986, efforts have been made to
develop institutions like DIETs, IASEs and CTEs for
providing in-service education to primary and
secondary schoolteachers; 500 DIETs, 87 CTEs, 38
IASEs, and 30 SCERTs, have been set up, although
many of them have yet to function as resource centres.
DPEP also brought in the block and cluster resource
centres and made in-service teacher education and
cluster-level schools as the follow-up for the main
strategies for pedagogic renewal. In spite of the
widespread efforts and specific geographical areas
which have shown improvements, by and large the
in-service inputs have not had any noticeable impact
on teacher practice.
A major indicator of quality of training is its
relevance to teachers\’ needs. But most such programmes
are not organised according to actual needs. The
approach adopted has remained lecture based, with
little opportunity for trainees to actively participate.
Ironically, concepts such as activity-based teaching,
classroom management of large classes, multigrade
teaching, team teaching, and cooperative and
collaborative learning, which require active
demonstration, are often taught through lectures.
School follow-up has also failed to take off, and
cluster-level meetings have not been able to develop
into professional fora for teachers to reflect and plan
Any curriculum renewal effort needs to be
supported with a well thought-out and systematic
programme of in-service education and school-based
teacher support. In-service education cannot be an
event but rather is a process, which includes knowledge,
development and changes in attitudes, skills, disposition
and practice — through interactions both in workshop
settings and in the school. It does not consist only of
receiving knowledge from experts; promotion of
experiential learning, incorporating teachers as active
learners, and peer group-based review of practice can
also become a part of the overall strategy. Self-reflection
needs to be acknowledged as a vital component of
such programmes. A training policy needs to be worked
out, defining parameters such as the periodicity, context
and methodology of programmes. But efforts to
strengthen quality and ensure vibrant rather than
routinised interactions would require far more
decentralised planning with clarity on goals and methods
for training and transfer. \’Mass training using’ new
technologies may be of use in some aspects of training,
but much greater honesty and bold creativity are required
for addressing the concerns of practising teachers
directly, including the deprofessionalised environments
in which they work, their lack of agency, and their
Dissemination technologies can serve to build a
positive ethos for curricular reforms if they are used
as sites of discussion and debates in which teachers,
training personnel and community members can
participate. Teachers require first-hand experience of
making programmes themselves in order to develop
an interest in the new technology. The availability of
computers and linkage facilities remains quite inadequate
in training institutes. This is one reason why the potential
of the new communication technology for changing
the ethos of schools and training institutions has
remained inadequately tapped.
Pre-service teacher educationas well as in-service training must
build the necessary orientation andcapacities in teachers so that they
can appreciate, understand and meet the challenges of the
curriculum framework. In-servicetraining, in particular, must be
situated within the context of theclassroom experiences of teachers.
DIETs, which have theresponsibility of organising such
training, should do so in a mannerin which both teachers and their
schools benefit from such training.For instance, instead of the ad hoc
manner in which teacher traineesare sent for in-service training by
the educational administration, itwould be better for a cluster of
schools to be identified and aminimum number of trainees (at
least two, to enable some peersharing and reflection) invited
from each school to participate inan in-service training programme.
DIETs, in coordination withBRCs, could identify the schools
for this purpose. In order that teaching time is not unduly
affected, and teacher trainees are able to make the link between
theory and practice, the mandatory days for training could be split up
over the course of the year to include on-site work in their own
classrooms as well.
Training could comprise a variety of activities in
addition to contact lectures and discussions in the teacher
training institutions and include workshops in schools
in the cluster, projects and other assignments for teachers
in their classrooms. To link pre-service and in-service
training, the same schools can become sites for preser
vice internship, and student teachers can be asked to
observe classroom transaction in these schools. This
could serve not only as feedback to teacher educators
for strengthening the training programme but can also
become the basis of critical reflection by teacher trainees
during the latter part of the training programme. To
take the process forward, there could be interactive
sessions with headmasters from the concerned schools
so that they can play the role of a facilitator in the
changes in classroom practices that the teacher trainees
may like to make. Systems for monitoring and feedback
must include SCERTs/DIETs /BRCs and CRCs so
that academic support can be envisaged in follow ups\’,
documentation and research.