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Nursery teacher training gaps

New Delhi, Feb. 15: Institutes that train would-be nursery teachers in India flout the prescribed norms with impunity, a study has found, raising concerns over how well the youngest of children are educated but offering no solutions yet.

Sources in the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) — set up by Parliament to regulate teacher-training schools — said they neither had the manpower to monitor the institutes’ functioning nor knew how many such institutes existed.

The study, conducted by the NCTE and Ambedkar University, surveyed 95 nursery teacher-training institutes in eight states and found wide gaps between the quality norms and the ground reality.

Almost half the institutes failed to meet even the norms relating to land ownership, built-up area, libraries and toilets.

Venita Kaul, an NCTE member and Ambedkar University professor who headed the study team, told The Telegraph that there were no official figures on how many training institutes for nursery teachers operated in the country.

“Most of these institutions do not follow the norms. The NCTE does not have the wherewithal to monitor the institutions,” Kaul said. She said the NCTE was revising its norms — prescribed in the year 2000 — on the training of nursery teachers and had set up an experts’ panel to suggest how compliance can be improved.

Krishna Kumar, a former director of the National Council for Educational Research and Training, said this situation explained the mad rush by parents to get their children admitted to specific private schools’ nurseries.

“Nursery education has suffered because the training of the teachers is substandard in many institutions. Only a few schools are perceived to be good in imparting nursery education, and the parents want their children admitted to these schools,” Kumar said.

Ashok Ganguly, former chairman of the CBSE, said nursery classes should be introduced in government schools too.

Government schools now do not offer nursery education with the exception of a few in Delhi that opened nursery classes recently.

“Children studying in government schools do not get pre-primary education at all,” Ganguly said. “They get some training in the anganwaadi centres but the quality is doubtful. The government should add pre-school education in its formal schools.”

Would-be nursery teachers need to have passed their Class XII board exams. The eight states covered by the study were Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.