Early childhood educators have recommended changes to the curriculum of bachelors of education (BEd), which is the minimum qualification required for teachers in India. The Early Childhood Association (ECA), an education think tank in Mumbai, wrote to the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) on Friday asking it to include spoken English training, behaviour management and longer internship periods in the curriculum.
Educators said that there was an urgent need to upgrade the BEd curriculum, especially for primary teachers, as they lack the training to handle six to seven-year olds. “Pre-primary children promoted to Class 1 still require care and understanding. BEd students are not trained to handle them,” said Swati Popat Vats, president, ECA.
“Instances of corporal punishment are increasing in city schools because teachers don’t understand children’s psychology,” said Vats. Hence, the ECA has also suggested introducing sessions on understanding brain development and behaviour management in the curriculum. Currently, the curriculum includes only some topics on child psychology in the module.
The education think tank has also recommended training BEd students in spoken English. “Many struggle with spoken and written English despite writing their papers in the language. This creates communication problems between them and the students or their parents,” said Vats.
According to Vats, the two to three months of internship in the current programme is not enough, a longer internship period will give BEd students more hands-on exposure. “The teachers’ eligibility test results in Maharashtra have been below 5% for the past several years. The BEd curriculum is to be blamed for it,” she said.
The ECA has also recommended that special education and mental health education must be included in the course.