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World witnesses Knowledge Explosion but India lags says Chairman National Minority Commission at an International Conference on Teacher Education at JMI (Publish Date: 07/12/2016)

Office of the Media Coordinator
Jamia Millia Islamia
December 7, 2016
Press Release
World witnesses Knowledge Explosion but India lags, says Chairman National Minority Commission at an International Conference on Teacher Education at JMI
The world is witnessing knowledge explosion but India is lagging behind in terms of quality and universal education, said Mr. Naseem Ahmad, Hon’ble Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, at the inaugural session of the a two-day International Conference on ‘Teacher Education: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies at Jamia Millia Islamia.
 “We are no doubt a great and upcoming nation, that being the position, we have far greater challenges compared to the developed countries”  Mr. Naseem Ahmad said citing some “glaring handicaps” like India ranks 130th in Human Development Index and ranks 98 out of 133 countries on the Social Progress Index (SPI). In terms of literacy, India’s total literacy is 74.4%, with 68% literacy among women, 66% among SC and those among minorities merely 60%.
Mr Ahmad said that it was worrying that India did not have any world class institution of higher learning and that the key indicators of primary education were not encouraging given as 39% of schools have less than 50 students; 48% of 5th standard students can correctly subtract and 21% elementary school teachers are untrained and only 18% teachers are able to avail annual in-service training.
“More than the college and university teachers, it is the school teachers who face a crisis of identity”, Ahmad said suggesting that they needed to be provided with freshly thought training capsules for updation of their knowledge base and teaching skills. Continuous refresher training through modules like Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) and Direct to Home (DTH) and digital libraries could prove to be very beneficial in this regard. Other suggestions made by him included--- confirmation of service strictly on performance through rigorous scrutiny and emphasis on augmentation of infrastructure in the already established institutions to increase intake instead of catering to new institutions.
Prof. Joanna Madalinska-Michalak, University of Warsaw, Poland who delivered the key note address said, “Developing teaching as a profession is a global issue”. Citing the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) report in the European context she said that 68% of the workforce was made up of women and a majority, 83% of teachers were on permanent contract.
She said that “teachers find coverage in the media usually in the context of bad news. We need to work with the media to lift the image of teachers and the teaching profession”.
Prof. Joanna citing Pádraig Hogan, a world renowned scholar on teacher education quoting “teacher as reflective practitioner/ as a researcher” said that the focus must be on quality of teachers. She further added that we should have a holistic view on teacher education giving the example of how knowledge, skills and attitude of each of Europe’s 6 million teachers are given great significance.
Prof. Shahid Ashraf, Pro Vice Chancellor, JMI, who delivered the presidential remarks, said that mostly teachers are very good at preparing students for learning by rote but they must ensure that students are able to relate to the theories in their field, in this case the theories of education. He expressed hope that the two-day conference will be enriching and will address some of the issues highlighted in the inaugural session in a holistic manner.
Prof Harjeet Kaur Bhatia, Head, Department of Educational Studies and the Organising Secretary of the conference, along with Prof. Ilyas Husain, the Conference Chair, introduced the conceptual background and the key issues that would be taken up over the next two days. Prof. Ejaz Masih, Dean, Faculty of Education gave away the vote of thanks before a packed Dr M.A. Ansari auditorium with officials of JMI, Deans, Heads and teachers and students sitting in the audience.
18 interactive sessions have been lined up to cover issues relating to the provincial, national and international developments in education especially teacher education  with the idea to provide attendees access to the field’s latest resources and tools, cutting-edge research, best practices and dynamic leaders. Also, it hopes to suggest ways to strengthen the practical experiences in classrooms and schools, to create teaching/learning environments that support personal development, stimulate intellectual growth and high levels of achievement, as also to encourage creativity by setting high ethical and professional standards and institutional mechanisms at all levels to promote excellence in teacher education.
Prof. Saima Saeed
Hony. Deputy  Media Coordinator
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