This paper deals with enhancement of Quality in teacher education. Education is an important instrument of intellectual, social and emotional development of the students. Education is an important tool of all round development of student’s personality. The effective and qualitative development of students depends upon quality education. Therefore, quality enhancement in teacher education is very essential for effective development of the students and nation. The effective and qualitative development of the nation is totally depending upon the total quality in teacher education. It is fact that quality in teacher education can play a vital role in qualitative development of the people and the nation. Therefore, today, there is an urgent need of enhancement of quality in teacher education to improve the condition of teacher education.
Keywords: Teacher education, Enhancement of quality.
The American Commission on Teacher Education rightly observes, “The quality of a nation depends upon the quality of its citizens. The quality of its citizens depends not exclusively, but in critical measure upon the quality of their education, the quality of their education depends more than upon any single factor, upon the quality of their teacher.”
An educational institution performs a significant function of providing learning experiences to lead their students from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. The key personnel in the institutions who play an important role to bring about this transformation are teachers. As stated by NCTE (1998) in Quality Concerns in Secondary Teacher Education, The teacher is the most important element in any educational program. It is the teacher who is mainly responsible for implementation of the educational process at any stage. This shows that it is imperative to invest in the preparation of teachers, so that the future of a nation is secure. The importance of competent teachers to the nation‘s school system can in no way be overemphasized. The National Curriculum Framework 2005 places demands and expectations on the teacher, which need to be addressed by both initial and continuing teacher education. It is well known that the quality and extent of learner achievement are determined primarily by teacher competence, sensitivity and teacher motivation.
CONCEPT OF TEACHER EDUCATION
The National Council for Teacher Education has defined teacher education as -A programme of education, research and training of persons to teach from pre-primary to higher education level. Teacher education is a programme that is related to the development of teacher proficiency and competence that would enable and empower the teacher to meet the requirements of the profession and face the challenges therein.
According to Goods Dictionary of Education Teacher education means, all the formal and non-formal activities and experiences that help to qualify a person to assume responsibilities of a member of the educational profession or to discharge his responsibility effectively.
In 1906-1956, the program of teacher preparation was called teacher training. It prepared teachers as mechanics or technicians. It had narrower goals with its focus being only on skill training. The perspective of teacher education was therefore very narrow and its scope was limited. As W.H. Kilpatric put it, Training is given to animals and circus performers, while education is to human beings.
In his Call for Action for American Education in the 21st Century in 1996, Clinton indicated that:-Every community should have a talented and dedicated teacher in every classroom. We have enormous opportunity for ensuring teacher quality well into the 21st century if we recruit promising people into teaching and give them the highest quality preparation and training”.
OBJECTIVES OF TEACHER EDUCATION:
- Provide opportunities to observe and engage with children, communicate with and relate to children
- Provide opportunities for self-learning, reflection, assimilation and articulation of new ideas; developing capacities for self directed learning and the ability to think, be self-critical and to work in groups.
- Provide opportunities for understanding self and others (including one‘s beliefs, assumptions and emotions); developing the ability for self analysis, self-evaluation, adaptability, flexibility, creativity and innovation.
- Provide opportunities to enhance understanding, knowledge and examine disciplinary knowledge and social realities, relate subject matter with the social milieu and develop critical thinking.
- Provide opportunities to develop professional skills in pedagogy, observation, documentation, analysis, drama, craft, story-telling and reflective inquiry.
CONCEPT OF QUALITY
Quality refers to basic and essential character, the distinguishing element or characteristic of a product, service, organization or entity. Consumers look at these elements in deciding whether or not to buy particular products or services.
According to Bennis (1993)-Quality often is not measured at all, but is appreciated intuitively. One‘s response to quality is a feeling, a perception that is connected intimately with our experience of meaning, beauty and values in our lives. Quality has been defined by several management experts.
According to Jan D. Timmer quality is a state of mind the relentless pursuit of excellence, of never being satisfied with what you do, how you do it and how quickly you do it. There is always room for improvement. Everything can always be done better. Quality should be a part of our soul. Quality is perceived differently by different people. Quality is not something that is bestowed by others; it is attained and maintained as a result of ceaseless efforts. Quality of a product may be good for one but not for another because it does not serve the purpose.
The dictionary meaning of quality is the degree of excellence. Juran says quality is fitness of purpose i.e. something is of good quality if it satisfies one‘s need. Deming is of the opinion that quality is a positive concept. Product or service which helps someone and enjoys good sustainable markets is of good quality. According to Crosby if a product or service conforms to requirements then it is said to be of good quality. Seymour opines that quality is continuous improvement.
Quality and excellence are often used synonymously. In a sense, they trigger the same response when they are experienced. Gardener (1961), who wrote a seminal book on excellence, makes the point that there are many kinds of excellence academic, professional, artistic, athletic and so on. Some form of excellence is fostered through education, some is not; some kind of excellence leads to worldly success, some does not; some form of excellence involves becoming while some involves being, excellence involves comparison, either with others or with oneself; excellence indicates action (it does not just happen) and requires the exercise of human will. That explains the frequently used expressions-the pursuit of excellence and the quest for quality. There can be poor quality, but not poor excellence.
In recent times some themes have become more significant including quality culture, the importance of knowledge management, and the role of leadership in promoting and achieving high quality. Disciplines like systems thinking are bringing more holistic approaches to quality so that people, process and products are considered together rather than independent factors in quality management. The influence of quality thinking has spread to non-traditional applications i.e. manufacturing, to service sectors such as hospitality, transport, and even education.
Customers recognize that quality is an important attribute in products and services. Suppliers recognize that quality can be an important differentiator between their own offerings and those of competitors. Applying this to the field of education, the customers of education, the students, parents and future employers recognize the importance of quality students i.e. the products of the system. In this sense the different educational institutions must provide the best of courses, and training in order to meet the demands of the students and future employers and try to give better opportunities than other competing institutions. From this discussion it is possible to identify certain characteristic of quality.
CHARACTERISTICS OF QUALITY
- Quality is a matter of perception, not logic: It is the perception that resides outside the product, service or organization. Peter Drucker (1990) says-the results of an organization are always outside the organisation. Inside, there are only costs. The result of a business is a satisfied customer, the result of a hospital is a healed patients and the result of an educational institution is a student who has something of value which he/she can use ten years later. Thus, quality is perceived by the consumer.
- Quality is relative and not absolute: It is a matter of degree. Theoretically, there are no maximum or minimum limits. Quality improvement, like pursuit of excellence, is a journey without a destination. There is nothing that cannot be little better in some way or the other.
- Quality is subjective: The criteria for judging quality can be substantially different from people to people, based on experience, values and culture.
- Quality is a contextual idea: Indicators of quality are institution specific. A high rate of job placement of graduates is a legitimate indicator of quality for vocational-technical-professional education programmes, but would not hold for humanities and liberal arts education. Each institution has a mission, a clear understanding of what it is, why it exists and what its primary obligation is. All functions and activities are informed by this mission. Assessment of performance and quality are valid only in terms of mission and goals.
- Quality can be measured inferentially: Like intelligence, motivation, attitude and other educational outcomes indicators of quality are established that serve as a basis of measurement.
- Quality is attainable: quality is not something that is bestowed by others it is attained and maintained as a result of ceaseless striving (Sapre 1999)
- Quality is applicable to the system and its parts: Quality is applied to each component of a system i.e. input-process-output.
PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY
Quality management adopts a number of management principles that can be used by upper management to guide their organizations towards improved performance. The principles are:
- Customer focus
- Involvement of people
- Process approach
- System approach to management
- Continual improvement
- Factual approach to decision making
- Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
QUALITY IN TEACHER EDUCATION
Applied to the field of Teacher Education, quality refers to the totality of features and characteristics of the student teacher acquired as a result of the teachers education programme. If the expectations of the schools, students, parents and the society are met that indicates that the right type of teachers have been prepared by the teacher education institutions. And if the teachers continue to improve themselves then there is value addition in education (Feigenbaum, 1951). Such teachers will continue to meet the needs of the society. There is fitness of educational outcome and experience for use (Juran and Gryna 1988). There will be defect avoidance in education process (Crosby 1979) of teachers in a quality teacher education institution.
In any educational institution there are three aspects to be managed-academic, administrative and financial. Besides these there 198 are the human and physical resources to be managed to their optimum level. In other words management of input-process-product is of utmost concern of the system of teacher education. If every component is of good quality then the final product i.e. the teacher will be perceived as fulfilling the needs of the consumers.
Quality in teacher education can be indicated by the educatedness of the products of the institution i.e. the student teachers. Quality teachers are indicated by their educatedness that they have achieved through their education and training. The teachers are well informed and possess knowledge about facts figures, concepts in their subjects. They are cultured and possess integrated personality which is warm, empathetic and ethical. One level ahead of being cultured is emancipation wherein teachers are individuals who rise above the known artificial boundaries of religion, caste, creed, gender, linguistic and geographic belongingness, social mores, cultural traditions and forms and treat their students fairly. Finally, teachers should achieve the best of potential already in them. However, if the following questions are answered by the educational institutions in general they will be able to achieve quality.
Quality Indicators for Teacher Education (NAAC)
- Curriculum Design and Planning
- Curriculum Transaction and Evaluation
- Research, Development and Extension
- Infrastructure and Learning Resources
- Student Support and Progression
- Organisation and Management
Quality refers to basic and essential character, the distinguishing element or characteristic of a product, service, organization or entity. Quality is a matter of perception, it is relative, 199 subjective, attainable, measured inferentially, and is applicable to the system and its parts. Providing quality education to large numbers at affordable costs is the primary concern of developing countries. If the expectations of the schools, students, parents and the society are met that indicates that the right type of teachers have been prepared by the teacher education institutions to impart quality education. The three aspects to be managed are academic, administrative and financial as well as the human and physical resources. In other words management of input-process-product is of utmost concern of the system of teacher education.
ENHANCEMENT OF QUALITY IN TEACHER EDUCATION
Quality has become a defining element of education in the 21st century in the context of new social realities. The information communication revolution, the knowledge economy and globalization are greatly influencing the next society. How to provide quality education to large numbers at affordable costs is the primary concern of developing countries. Quality makes education as much socially relevant as it is personally indispensible to the individuals. In this sense quality becomes the defining element of education. In this context, quality and excellence should be the vision of every higher education institution including teacher education. Acquisition of quality and excellence is the great challenge faced by all higher education institutions.
The quality can be enhanced in teacher education through maintaining the standard of admission procedures, selection of faculty, effective teaching technology and methodology, effective curriculum, adequate infrastructure, proper academic environment, proper supervision and inspection, adequate fund and effective management and control etc. By following these certain important dimensions/ points the quality can be enhanced and maintained properly.
These are some important dimensions for enhancing of quality in teacher education.
- These are some important dimensions for enhancing of quality in teacher education: Teacher education, like higher education and technical education must be the responsibility of the central government.
- Uniformity among teacher education institutions must be ensured and maintained in terms of curriculum, duration and timings of the programme.
- Curriculum development on a continuing basis to keep pace with current trends.
- Government should look after the financial requirements of the institutions.
- Teacher educators must be well qualified and experienced with language proficiency.
- Teacher educators to be trained in the use of ICTs.
- Privatization of teacher education should be regulated.
- Institutes of low standards should be reformed or closed.
- Conditions for affiliation should be made strict.
- Regular and rigorous inspection by NCTE should be done on a regular basis.
- Selection procedure must be improved and interviews, group discussions along with common entrance test and marks should be introduced.
- Duration of teacher education should be increased to two years.
- More emphasis should be given on practice teaching till mastery is reached with appropriate feedback.
- Internship should be of sufficient time (six months) and student teachers must be exposed to the full functioning of the school.
- Evaluation in teacher education should be objective, reliable and valid.
- Teacher pupil ratio should be ideally.
- Several types of co-curricular activities should be included in the curriculum.
- Professional development of teacher educators as ongoing ritual.
- Refresher course should be organized frequently for teacher educators.
- Research in teacher education should be encouraged.
- Number of teaching days to be increased to 230 per year.
The quality in teacher education can be improved by implementing these important dimensions such as proper admission procedures, proper recruitment of teacher educators, adequate teaching pedagogy, systematic evaluation and continuous supervision and inspection by higher authorities etc. Therefore, today there is a need of quality enhancement and management in teacher education to face the present problems and challenges. Indeed, there is an urgent need of drastic modifications and changes in educational administration and planning, educational management and supervision, teaching-methodology, admission system, evaluation procedure and selection of the faculty etc. to enhance the quality and standard of teacher education. We can manage & maintain the quality in teacher education by following the above mentioned quality indicators. The total quality in teacher education can be enhanced and maintained by the proper inspection of National Council of Teacher Education and National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
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 Assistant Professor Sr., Faculty of Education, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.