Professional Development Of Teachers: A Greater Necessity Post COVID-19

Over several years now the subject of poor learning outcomes in India is a much-debated topic.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

The Education system around the world is witnessing a significant change due to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic. It is by now quite clear that a ‘new normal’ has been created and the ways of delivering education and engaging with learners will be more Digital and Integrated (Print combined with Digital) than before. The recent disruption however does not change the basic principle where a learner is the key focus and learning outcomes the central ask. This shift in education delivery requires teachers to take up their new role effectively and therefore their own continual training is no more a matter of choice, it is very much a necessity. 

Over several years now the subject of poor learning outcomes in India is a much-debated topic. Among several causes that experts point to, is the lack of the educator’s ability to create an engaging learning environment that places emphasis on ‘real learning’ versus ‘memorising’. The educator or the teacher cannot be blamed entirely given that some of the most prestigious examinations in our country are ‘rote learning tests’ and not a test of conceptual understanding and application of knowledge. This probably explains India’s performance in PISA in 2009 where it was ranked 72nd among the 73 nations that participated. Of course, the New Education Policy 2020 will attempt to break the conundrum of rote learning but even the early results of its impact will take a few years to get reflected. Also, a policy needs to be backed and delivered in order to usher a real change inside the classroom. 

So the question really is - who breaks this paradox of rote learning leading to poor learning outcomes? The answer for us is the Teacher, who we believe is the principal pivot in the learning eco-system. This means familiarizing modern-day teachers with 21st-century competencies and skills, new teaching-learning pedagogies and augmenting their lateral thinking abilities through carefully crafted programmes. Now, with the pandemic and its longer-term impact on classroom teaching, educators need to be trained quickly to get more digitally savvy and accustomed to the idea of remote learning and teaching.

Last month, data released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) highlighted that 9.1 million teachers across the world who have been impacted by the pandemic-related school closures, out of a total of 63 million affected teachers, are untrained in coping with the challenge. The biggest challenge is that teachers are forced to adapt to remote learning when many lack the training or even basic induction that is needed. 

What our education system requires today is a systemized response to the subject of professional development of teachers, and, the onus of delivering this rests not just with the Government but also with Private education service providers.  

It is no exaggeration to suggest that the ultimate success of any education system is directly linked to the development and competence of its teachers, and therefore, continued Professional Development of teachers today demands strong complementary efforts from all stakeholders in education, be it the Government or the Private sector.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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