Innovative Learning Course Impacts Teaching in Classrooms
Every weekend for the past five months, Ashok Kumar, Government school teacher, has been cycling from his home to Bikram in district Patna -16 kilometres each way- to attend the Open Distance Learning, organised by the Educational Research and Training (SCERT) with the support of UNICEF.
Every weekend for the past five months, Ashok Kumar, Government school teacher, has been cycling from his home to Bikram in district Patna -16 kilometres each way- to attend the Open Distance Learning, organised by the Educational Research and Training (SCERT) with the support of UNICEF.
The efforts of Ashok Kumar and 10,800 other elementary teachers are bearing fruit. The innovative open distance learning course that teachers in 27 districts across Bihar are undertaking, free of cost, is already benefiting not only teachers but also students in Bihar.
The lack of trained school teachers adds to the challenge of over-crowded class rooms In 2006 a decision was taken to fill this yawning gap by recruiting Shiksha Mitras/Panchayat Shikshaks or people without the necessary academic and training qualifications to teach on a contractual basis.
Way Forward- Training Existing Resources “The answer was to impart training to those in service”, explains Parul Sharma, Education Officer for UNICEF in Bihar.
The two-year course which confers a diploma in Elementary Education is spread over four semesters with internal exams at the end of each semester and a final examination to be conducted under the Bihar University
“Participants are expected to frame their own questions on what they consider to be crucial issues and take these up during discussions. The professionally developed programme enables the teachers to apply and experiment with the techniques they are learning rather than wait until the training period is over,” points out Abha Rani, principal of DIET.
Training already impacting teacher’s style of functioning Although there are infrastructural problems as many study centres function from dilapidated, dingy, dark buildings due to power shortages, participants keep up their enthusiasm.
Sunita Kumari, woman teacher at the study centre in Badshah Navaz Rizvi Training College (BNRT), Gulzarbagh Patna, adds that she can now gauge the varying abilities of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old in the same class
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