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Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and Teacher Organizations

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Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and  Teacher Organizations: One of the distinct features of the last decade was the increasing invol...

Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and Teacher Organizations

Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and Teacher Organizations:

One of the distinct features of the last decade was the increasing involvement of non-government organisations and civil society groups in education. NGOs have played a major role in creating innovative models of schooling, training of teachers, development of textbooks and curricular materials, community mobilisation and advocacy. Their formal association with schools and resource centres would be extremely important for curriculum development, academic support, as well as monitoring and research. Civil society groups have also helped to give education a visible public space, and facilitated the emergence of a discourse on the child's right to education. The dissemination of the perspective and ideas of the NCF, their translation into creative and innovative practices within the school and community, critical feedback on different aspects of the curriculum, as well as the nurturing of an environment of commitment to the right to education of children, would all need collaboration and sustained involvement of diverse civil society groups. 

Teachers' associations and organisations can play a far greater role in strengthening school education than has hitherto been the case. For instance, they can help evolve norms to improve school functioning by using their influence over their teacher members to ensure that teaching time is not compromised, and help create a culture of accountability. They can also draw attention to the inputs and supports that are necessary for effective curriculum transaction, and act as constructive pressure groups on issues such as school resources, quality of teacher education and professional development. These associations can work with local-level organisations as well as with BRCs and CRCs in defining the nature of academic support required, provide feedback and so on. 

The roles and functions of SCERTs need to include providing support not only in purely academic areas but psychological aspects as well. SCERTs must take steps to strengthen the guidance bureaus/units already existing with them by setting them up as resource centres at the state level for in-service teacher training in this area, production of psychological tools/ tests, career literature, etc. and make counselling services available at district/block and school levels by positioning professionally trained guidance personnel.

Universities have a critical role to play in responding to the wide-ranging aims of the curricular framework, especially in emphasising and encouraging pluralism in education, addressing the needs of children, and integrating new curricular areas. There is an urgent need to expand the knowledge base of education keeping in view the diverse socio-cultural contexts to which children belong as well as the complex nature of classroom realities in India. University departments of education, social science as well as the sciences should be urged to include the study of education in their research agenda. Mutlidisciplinary and collaborative research bringing together scholars from different disciplines would be particularly important in generating a research base that is critical for translating the ideas in the curriculum framework into enabling classroom practices. At the same time, universities need to keep their doors open to children coming from schools with unusual and interesting combinations of study. Rather than using admission criteria to eliminate, they should remain inclusive and encouraging of diversity of interests, pursuits and opportunities. Such open and inclusive admission policies are also crucial if children are to seriously consider vocational courses of study as non-terminal options. 

Institutions of higher education have an important role to play in teacher education and in enhancing the professional status not only of secondary schoolteachers but also elementary schoolteachers. For the, 'reflective teacher' who possesses the professional competence and orientation that the curriculum framework rests on, it will be necessary to review and restructure teacher education programmes. Equally important will be the sustained involvement of scholars in curriculum development, writing and reviewing textbooks as part of a collaborative exercise, which brings together practitioners and academics with diverse expertise. Higher education can also provide space for reflection, discussion and debate on educational ideas and practices as well as facilitate the interface between schools and policy makers. 

There is also need for institutional linkages between universities and institutions such as SCERTs and DIETs to strengthen their academic programmes of teacher education and in-service training as well to develop their research capacities. In this context, it would be appropriate to explore once again the idea of creating school/educational complexes that would bring together universities, colleges, schools, SCERTs/DIETs as well as NGOs within a geographical area to evolve networks and mechanisms for providing academic support and participating in monitoring, and evaluation of programmes. 

The preparation of curricula, syllabi and teaching-learning resources, including textbooks, could be carried out in a far greater decentralised and participative manner, increasing the participation of teachers, along with representatives and experts from other organisations. This is especially important when we are exploring the possibility of producing more than one textbook for each grade and subject, so that there is far greater local relevance in materials, and also a plurality of materials from which teachers can choose. Such large teams could also produce supplementary materials such as reading cards and small stories based on local lore and illustrations, which are often more interesting to children. Choice and variety, which exist in more elite schools, can become common features of all schools. 

The Department of Woman and Child Development, Department of Health, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tribal Aff airs, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment,Department of Culture, Department of Tourism, Archeological Survey of India, PRIs, to name a few, are all stakeholders with an interest in the welfare and progress of children, school, and curriculum. All these departments have the ability to contribute to enriching education for children and teachers. For example, health and physical education requires synergies across different departments since the curricular content falls within the purview of at least five ministeries. In order to ensure the effective transaction of the curriculum, there must be some system of coordination across the key deparments, and it is the school curriculum that must lead programmes rather than the stand- alone programmes intervening in the school curriculum. They need to explore and discover ways in which they can contribute to children's education, by converging their inputs with the efforts of departments of education. They can do so by providing additional facilities to schools, funding special programmes that enrich the curriculum, such as sports clubs and sports equipment along with special instructors, organising visits and excursions to historical, archeological and natural sites and providing materials about these places, providing reference materials, photographs and charts (including films and photographs), ensuring regular health checkups, and monitoring the quality of the midday meal. These are some of the ways in which these departments can directly contribute to and enhance the quality of the school curriculum. Educationally meaningful contributions need to be planned in consultation with education departments rather than being conceived independently and simply delivered. This is necessary to ensure that what is being designed is useful and usable. Similarly, they could respond to requests made by the department of education for specific programmes or inputs.
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CLEAR CTET: Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and Teacher Organizations
Role of NGOs, Civil Society Group and Teacher Organizations
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