The Delhi government is investing in teachers’ training to drive innovative learning and teaching ideas.
Of the over Rs 10,000 crore that the Aam Aadmi Party government has allocated for education in the current budget, Rs 102 crore has been set aside to train teachers.
Thirty principals and teachers went to IIM-Lucknow on five-day training in April. Another group of 30 principals was sent to Cambridge in United Kingdom in July-August. They visited three schools there and a few colleges to interact with students and teachers.
During the 12-day trip to the UK, principals attended sessions on leadership in classroom, understanding learning and teaching methods, child-centered learning and innovations in teaching methods.
Principals have picked up ideas, which they now plan to customise for their schools.
“Schools in Cambridge focused on value education as much as on academics,” said Anju Chawla, principal, Sarvodya Senior Secondary School for Girls, Sultanpuri.
“I have tried to replicate the idea in my school. The school has 33 sections and each one of them has adopted a value each such as honesty, responsibility, and sharing,” said Chawla.
Seema Roy Choudhary, principal of a girls’ school in New Kondli, said, “Youth Parliament is conducted in many schools. But, in my school, students discuss studies and education policy during the debate.”
At Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Lajpat Nagar, teachers were being trained by a Learning Manager appointed by the government’s directorate of education.
Principal BK Sharma decided to change the learning process after his visit to Cambridge. “I decided to implement the Teach Meet concept, in which teachers meet and discuss ways to improve classroom teaching,” said Sharma.
“The trained teachers now also meet regularly in groups and exchange ideas,” said Sharma.
Kavita Rana, who went to IIM-Lucknow, said she learned to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the teachers and working on them to improve teaching.
“We had a legal literacy cell in our school. I thought to strengthen it,” said Rana.
“We have now transformed the cell into a mediation centre where students meet and resolve their problems and disputes,” she said.
The teachers, however, said there should not be comparisons with the foreign countries. They said the change will be slow because of additional responsibilities that the teachers have to shoulder, in addition to teaching duties.
They said there are practical difficulties in implementing the ideas from the West. “Unlike in India where teachers have to do administrative work, the teachers in London just teach,” said a principal who visited Cambridge.
“The teaching there is result-oriented,” said another principal.
“If teachers in the UK have to spend more time on students, they can do so. But in our schools, teachers work for a fixed number of hours,” he said.
“Even during that time, they remain busy with administrative work such as replying to RTIs and maintaining files,” the principal said, requesting anonymity.
The government, however, is optimistic.
Officials said two more batches of 30 principals each will be sent to Cambridge after the lieutenant governor approves the visit.
“We sought L-G’s approval for the policy of sending teachers abroad for training. Once he approves the proposal, we will fix the time of next batch’s visit,” said Atishi Marlena, adviser to education minister Manish Sisodia.