A plethora of surveys has been consistently painting a dismal picture of the quality of government school education across the country. Apart from infrastructural woes, the poor standard of teaching has been the bane of the education sector. The failure to upgrade skills of teachers in tune with the changing needs of an increasingly globalised world, continued dependence on the abstract, blackboard teaching and rote learning are proving to be major impediments. A paradigm shift in the training methods for teachers is the need of the hour. This involves moving away from the archaic pedagogical methods and embracing interactive-based and project-oriented training for teachers so that they can keep themselves abreast of the latest trends and apply innovative techniques to make learning an intellectually stimulating process. For long, the need for modern methods of skill upgradation for teachers has not received adequate attention of policy makers. Though teachers form the lifeline of the education sector, their professional needs are largely ignored. Teacher training programmes routinely meant a rigid ritual of abstract inputs thrust on them without their active involvement in the process.
Against this backdrop, the Telangana government’s recent initiative to introduce interactive-based training methods to upgrade the skills of teachers in social welfare residential schools comes as a whiff of fresh air. As part of the new module, teachers would undergo interactive-based training at their respective district centres across the State. Another potential game-changer is the introduction of digital classrooms in government schools in a phased manner. Such measures would go a long way in creating an enabling environment for teachers to realise their full potential. The introduction of English medium education in government schools is another commendable move as it would help create a level-playing field for students, particularly from rural areas. One of the key reasons for migration of students to private schools is that English medium education provides vast opportunities and upward mobility in a globalised job market. There is an increasing trend among parents, even in rural areas, to send their children to private schools despite exorbitant fee. According to a recent survey on education, the enrolment in government primary schools had dropped by 10 percent during the period 2008-2014. The quality of teaching becomes paramount to check migration of students to private schools. The situation has to be corrected through concerted efforts focusing on human resource development. There is a need for application-based, hands-on training programme, particularly for Science and Mathematics teachers. Despite having qualified teachers, the state-run schools lag behind corporate schools in terms of results, a fact that was recently acknowledged by Deputy Chief Minister K Srihari. This calls for serious introspection. The skill upgradation of teachers holds the key to the performance of schools.