Defend the Quality Initiative in Teacher Education
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The Jangira committe on faculty requirements and qualifications for B.El.Ed and D.El.Ed programmes has made many unwarranted attacks on the B.El.Ed programme presentuing it in a poor light.
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We request all the stakeholders in education to join us in petitioning against the attacks on B.El.Ed.
Please read the petition given below and sign it.
Views and Observations on the Jangira Committee Report
The Jangira Committee Report has put forward several inaccurate and inconsistent comments about B.El.Ed. Programme, which are not supported by data and documentary evidence about the programme. It seems that this report has not been prepared through a process of systematic and rigorous deliberations about B.El.Ed. programme. The Report misrepresents the concerns highlighted in B.El.Ed. Review Report without accurate reference to the B.El.Ed. Review Report and other significant documents such as B.El.Ed. Handbook for Curriculum, B.El.Ed. Prospectus of previous years and other related documents.
1. It is unfortunate to note that the Jangira Committee Report has misrepresented critical aspects of the B.El.Ed. Review Committee Report by quoting inaccurate phrases or ‘words’ from the Review Report and by placing them in out of context statements in bullet points. Even the page numbers and references to the quotes are inconsistent as a matter of fact many sweeping comments and inconsistent remarks have been made about the B.El.Ed. Programme in the report.
2. There is a highly biased comment in the report which questions the accountability for selection and scaling of proven model. While the report suggests that the programme should have a so called efficacy criteria, there has been no criteria mentioned to prove its inefficacy, other than stating that is run in only 8 colleges of University of Delhi and no other college in Delhi University (Pg. 9). As a matter of fact, the B.El.Ed. Programme has been running successfully in 8 colleges at University of Delhi which is a great achievement in itself. We must recognise that B.El.Ed. is a Professional Teacher Education Programme, which prepares its graduates for employability after completion of the course and requires a different kind of infrastructure and faculty, unlike other liberal under-graduate programmes. There was a proposal to initiate the programme in some more colleges but due to some systemic constraints at DU, it could not materialize. Moreover, it isn’t that only University of Delhi has initiated this programme, Amity University, Noida has also initiated B.El.Ed. Programme and has been running it successfully for the past 4-5 years.
3. The Jangira Committee Report inaccurately points out that the aspect of inclusion and special education for children with disability has been omitted in B.El.Ed. Curriculum (p. 13). The issues of inclusion and special education have been dealt very effectively as part of some theory papers –Child Development and Human Relations and Communication and an optional paper of Special Education in the B.El.Ed. curriculum. In fact, inclusive education is an integral part of the praxis of B.El.Ed., which is witnessed especially during the School Contact Programme (I year), Block Teaching Experience (III year) and School Internship (IV year). Moreover, some colleges offering B.El.Ed., organise visits to special schools wherein the students learn to identify children with different kinds of special needs as well as interact with counsellors and professionals in the field and learn about the ways of meeting the academic and socio- emotional needs of such students within the school environs.
4. Another comment in the Jangira Committee Report that “Literacy should have more space in the course implying, thereby, that this important area had been neglected for long” (p 13) has also been misquoted and misread from B.El.Ed. Review report which states that ‘Literacy should have more space in the curriculum, given the relevance of learning to read and write in primary years and the pathetic state of literacy in our country’ (p. 25).
As part of the B.El.Ed programme, three compulsory courses on linguistics and language dealing with various aspects of literacy are offered in the first two years and a compulsory practicum on material development for language teaching is offered in the third year while an optional paper on pedagogy of language is offered in the fourth year. Considering the fact that all the students teach at the primary level and face literacy related issues in the classroom, it was suggested that the pedagogy paper be made compulsory and more literacy related components be added to the course. Our responsiveness to the ground realities of the Indian education system should not be misconstrued as something which has been neglected for long. It is clear that in B.El.Ed. Review Report, it has been mentioned that literacy should be emphasized but it does not imply that the aspect of literacy has been neglected.
5. The Jangira Committee Report has inaccurately mentioned that B.EI.Ed. graduates are not considered eligible in M.Ed. course in most of the universities. It needs to be debated with substantial evidence as many B.El.Ed. graduates get selected in M.Ed. programmes at reputed institutions such as Central Institute of Education (CIE), University of Delhi, and M.A. (Education) programmes offered at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) and many other Universities. B.El.Ed. graduates get opportunities to study not just in M.Ed. or M.A. (Education) courses, but they can opt from a wide range of other post graduate courses in Humanities/ Social Sciences (English Literature, Sociology, History, Political Science, Psychology, Linguistics, etc.) in many prestigious universities, such as University of Delhi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) and other state level Universities.
As regards science education, we must not lose sight of the fact that the B.El.Ed, with its innovative methods of teaching, enables the students to link science with their daily lives and transfer this learning to the classroom. After all preparing teachers with strong conceptual and pedagogic base is the main purpose of the program.
6. The Jangira Committee Report favours M.Ed. Programmes as opposed to other research based programmes –M.Phil. (Education) or Ph.D. (Education) and other academic programmes –M.A. (Education). The M.A. Education Programmes run by TISS, AUD, JMI, and many other prestigious universities should also be given significance at par with M.Ed. programme. Also recognition must be given to M.A (Special Ed.) and M.El.Ed being at par with M.Ed and MA (Education).
7. Another inconsistent comment on the B.El.Ed. Programme is that B.EI.Ed. graduates are appointed as Primary Teachers (p. 14). The recruitment rules should be able to accommodate this new cadre of teachers at the elementary level rather than fitting this cadre in the old rules.
8. The Jangira Committee Report has stated that the liberal courses are transacted by the subject faculty of the college who have reservations due to lack of motivation in this course. This statement is not substantiated by any data. In most B.El.Ed. colleges, the faculty from liberal components such as English Literature, History and Mathematics have appreciated the commitment and sincerity of the B.El.Ed. students to engage with issues critically, as compared with students from other under-graduate courses. In fact they assert that they are able to engage in more innovative work with B.El.Ed students as these students have a knack of working on tasks which are out of the ordinary.
9. The Jangira Committee Report has also built another misconnection of B.El.Ed. Programme which is a professional Teacher Education Programme with other liberal under-graduate programmes offered at University of Delhi by questioning the duration of B.El.Ed. Programme. It should be noted that Teacher Education Programmes like B.El.Ed. are not B.A. + B.Ed in the additive sense it is often taken to be. The duration of the programme is of four years on account of the nature and merit of the courses taught in the programme. The duration of the programme meets the requirement of a four year degree which has acceptance in the universities internationally. To even assume that now the duration of the programme should be additively increased by a year as other undergraduate programmes are now of four year duration is preposterous. Hence, the duration of 4 years is fully justified and need not be modified further.
10. In the Jangira Committee Report, there is an error in calculating the total number of faculty positions for different courses/ components in B.El.Ed. Programme (pg. 15-18). The total number of Academic Faculty Full-Time' has been suggested to be 12 but the tabular representation of different faculty posts makes it to a total of 11 only. It should also be noted that the report has suggested only one full-time post for teaching the Learner Studies component which involves three theory papers (Child Development, Cognition and Learning, Human Relations and Communication) along with two practicum components (Self Development Workshops, School Contact Programme) which would lead to impractical workload on one faculty member. However, one faculty post for a Special Education has been suggested which should rather be clubbed with Learner Studies component. These points should be clarified and rectified in the report at the earliest.
11. Another statement in the report is “B.EI.Ed. graduates found NCERT books difficult to transact.” (p 14)
The answer to this statement has been given by one of the stakeholders, a B.El.Ed student herself which is quoted here
“Firstly, it is to be understood that the textbook is and can be a resource for learning, but not the ONLY resource. This helps to widen the scope of learning to include resources available in the environment of the child like folk tales, monuments etc. and enable a child to form better connections of the world around them, enhancing his learning rather than only reading about something and not experiencing about it at all. Our faculty has always given us the non example of a horse and its blinds, not to be or make a child focus entirely upon a textbook for learning to be accomplished.
Further, by the use of textbooks we consider each child to be at the same level, which may not be the ground reality. In this case a lot of other materials can be used, including other text materials. Also, from my own experience of content analysis I can confidently say that while NCERT textbooks have been shaped and changed in accordance to the NCF, 2005, it is not necessary that these cater to the requirements of the child in the best possible manner. While some aspects of NCERT textbooks may be good, there may be other aspects like the presence of more interesting or relevant text present in some other publishing house’s textbook. Professor Krishna Kumar mentioned in ‘The Child’s Language and the Teacher’ that it is best if the teacher can her/himself design books for the children according to their needs, levels and interests. So, it is not that we find it difficult to transact NCERT textbooks in class, but to expect us as B.El.Ed students to blindfold ourselves to the better opportunities, resources or books that are present or can be designed by our own selves is wrong in itself.”
If our students can display this level of understanding and reflection during the course of the programme, we think that our task of creating critical, innovative and agentive teachers is well accomplished by the programme.
12. Another statement of the report states that “Many of the B.EI.Ed. graduates will not?become school heads after completing the course. The prevalent course does not have a leadership impact.” (p 14)
The fact of the matter is that the B.El.Ed programme is beyond the outdated leader- follower model. We are more interested in helping our students understand the issues of the Indian education and be the agents of change who are sensitized to the needs of the students. Moreover, there are courses in School Planning and Management and related field based study that help students to study the issues in school education in an integrated manner and be able to base upon this learning their field experiences which will help them to eventually become school heads.
13. Another vague statement in the report is “Lack of dialogue among faculty ends in negative feedback by teacher educators.”
It is not clear on what basis the committee chose to make such a statement on faculty interaction. The review report makes no such claim. Rather, it establishes that faculty interaction among various colleges is a unique feature of the programme. The report acknowledges that more such interactions are needed. How it is interpreted as “lack of dialogue ending in negative feedback” is not understandable.
14. An allegation against the science faculty of the B.El.Ed programme is “In science courses where two or more faculty are teaching they are teaching without connections.” (p.27) The review report on B.El.Ed, on the other hand mentions that the connections that are to be made by the students after reading the course needs to be part of curriculum and explicitly mentioned in the syllabus. Thus, the idea is to explicitly state what is being already done rather than to say that there is a lack.
The reviewing of B. El. Ed. programme took place so that current changes in the field of teacher education and the experiences of students and faculty in the past twenty years could be incorporated. It was a unique exercise done at several levels so that the voices of not only the faculty but also the students could be given importance, as they are the future teachers who will carry the ethos of the programme forward. It is unfortunate that the review exercise done with the purpose of bringing improvements to the programme has been made the basis of maligning the same.
It is suggested that before making such a report available in the public domain, which could damage the hard earned image of a pioneering and innovative Teacher Education programme, due care should have been taken to ensure the accuracy of facts. It is advisable that before making public a damaging report with far reaching repercussions, views should have been invited from various stakeholders in education, especially related to B.El.Ed such as experienced B.El.Ed. faculty, alumni teaching in schools, alumni pursuing higher education, students pursuing the course. Principals of schools that graduates are teaching in and other stakeholders related to B.El.Ed. Programme in University of Delhi should also have been consulted.
Thanks & Regards
Department of Elementary Education
Jesus and Mary College
University of Delhi
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