The Professionalization of Teaching: Teacher Quality Discourse in NCFTE 2009

The backbone of any high-quality education system is frequently assumed to be the teachers (LeTendre & Wiseman, 2015). The causal logic is that if the teachers are good, then the students learn, and the school, system, economy, or nation as a whole is strengthened (Hanushek, 2011). This assumed causal connection between the quality of teachers and of education systems as a whole is common among both policymakers and the public in most countries worldwide, India included (Baily, 2012; Kumar, 2005). The history of the professionalization of teachers in India is complicated due to India’s colonial legacy as well as its post-colonial development as a rapidly modernizing social, economic, and political state. There is also the challenge that teachers have been professionalized as well as deprofessionalized throughout history. For example, teachers were deprofessionalized in India as part of British colonialism as well as in the post-colonial period (Ginsburg et al., 1988).

The definitions of the professionalization of teaching are also varied across the field of education. NCFTE 2009 focused on providing well-planned and research-based teacher preparation and training programs in India as a primary approach to the professionalization of teaching. This is an approach that has been validated and legitimized by educational development experts, organizations, and other national education educations (Akiba, 2013; Dyer, 2005; Hammerness & Klette, 2015). There are, however, additional facets to the professionalization of teaching that should follow research-based training. These include control over: (1) expert knowledge; (2) training and credentials; (3) self-policing and ethical codes; (4) occupational domain; and (5) the workplace (Abbott, 1988; DiMaggio & Powell, 1991; Larson, 1977; Wiseman & Matherly, 2009). The approach of the NCFTE 2009 is to focus on generating expert, research-based knowledge about teaching and pedagogy and increase the rigor and quality of teacher training using this research base.

Of course, improving the teacher training process and content is not the only challenge that India faces in terms of teacher professionalization. As is alluded to or explicitly stated in each of the national policy frameworks related to teacher quality' in the 21st century, India is a large and diverse nation, and as a result equity issues in education are just as important as the quality' issues (Rose & Alcott, 2015). Gender equity in education is one area, in particular, that has been called out in previous research on education in India (Bandyopadhyay & Subrahmanian, 2008; Ramachandran, 2004; Rao, 2010; Stromquist, 2007), but the gendered distribution of teachers is another area of teacher quality that contributes to the professionalization of teaching. Evidence shows that as late as 2003, the teaching profession in India was still not gender-balanced, with approximately “90 percent of single-teacher schools... [in IndiaJ...staffed by men” (UNESCO, 2003, p. 146). This is especially relevant to note since single-teacher schools accounted for approximately 20% of all schools in India at the time (Ramachandran, 2003).

Although the Draft National Education Policy of 2019 and the National Education Policy of 2020 both focus on the importance of recognizing and incorporating diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives into Indian education, the NCFTE 2009 does not address this gender gap in its focus on teacher quality through professionalization as fully as it does in the proposed content of teacher education curriculum (pp. 31-32). Although the emphasis on training and education from a research base is a good starting point, any professionalization efforts are likely to be more successful if the key stakeholder populations are also included in the process. Since women comprise approximately half of India’s population, a gender equity component to recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting teachers is also a key to the professionalization of teaching that is not fully addressed in NCFTE 2009.

Framework of NCFTE 2009

NCFTE 2009 is a sequel to earlier curriculum frameworks, which include the NCFTE 1978, NCFTE 1988, and the NCFTE, 1998. However, NCFTE 2009 states the relationship between teacher quality and educational quality' overall much more clearly. In fact, NCFTE 2009 explicitly states that “teacher education and school education have a symbiotic relationship” (p. iii). This statement makes it clear that teacher education and school education are tied together when it comes to development and improvement of education overall (NCTE, 2009, p. iii). The framework was developed as a response to the curriculum framework proposed by NCF 2005, which placed new demands and expectations for teachers and teacher education given the poor state of teacher quality in the country'.

Despite the National Curriculum Frameworks from 1978, several crucial problems persisted in relation to teacher education. These persistent problems included the backlog of untrained teachers, increase in demand for trained teachers, lack of pre-service teacher certification, increase in substandard teacher education institutions, and lack of teacher accountability' (NCTE, 2009). Teachers were “givers” rather than facilitators of knowledge, a fact severely criticized by the NCF 2005, and reminiscent to Friere’s (1996) “banking concept” of education. It was publicly acknowledged that the role of teachers needed to be changed so that teachers are empowered and become creators of knowledge as well as thinking professionals. Thus, there was a need for a new curriculum framework for teacher education which prepares teachers to have sustained and enriching engagement with learners and the school. Preparing teachers to be professional and humane to learners is the core foundational issue on which the NCFTE 2009 is based.

While developing the curriculum framework for teacher education, NCTE noticed that the existing pre-service and in-service training of teachers was both inadequate and poorly managed by most states in the country. There was a huge variation in the need and status of teachers at different levels in schools (government, private, and public) across the country. The Education Commission (1964-66) critically looked at the various issues of teacher education around India. It recommended “professionalization of teacher education, development of integrated programs, and comprehensive colleges of education and internship” (NCTFE 2009, p. 7). The National Commission on Teachers (1983-85) recommended five-year integrated courses and internship, while the NPE (1983) recommended overhauling of teacher education to give it a “professional orientation” (NCFTE 2009, p. 7). Further recommendations by the NPE (1990) Review Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Learning without Burden (1993) to overhaul teacher education drew attention to the need for supervised teacher internships under mentor teachers. The Advisory Committee recommended increasing teacher accountability by involving them in curriculum and textbook preparation and training teachers to teach students through innovative modes of discovery, observation, and activity (NCTFE 2009, p. 7). All these policy recommendations were considered while framing NCFTE 2009.

NCFTE 2009, developed by the NCTE, thus gives a systematic and comprehensive framework for teacher education. It envisions an ideal situation where teachers enjoy being with children, are committed and responsible towards the upliftment of society and treat children as active participants. For this, NCFTE 2009 viewed teacher education as a “holistic enterprise involving actions of different kinds and from multiple fronts aimed at the development of the total teacher - knowledge and understanding, repertoire of skills, positive attitudes, habits, values and the capacity to reflect” (p. 23). The framework recognizes the importance of both initial and continued professional development of teachers although it places more importance on initial teacher education. To this effect, NCFTE 2009 notes that initial teacher education “marks the initiation of the novice entrant to the calling and as such has tremendous potential to imbue the would-be teacher with the aspirations, knowledge-base, repertoire of pedagogic capacities and humane attitudes” (italics added for emphasis, p. 2).

NCFTE 2009 articulates that to give teaching the status of being a serious profession, it is urgently required that teacher education should be raised to the university level and the teacher preparation program’s duration and rigor be increased. To achieve the vision of a sound teacher education that will create a high quality, professional and committed teacher force, the NCFTE 2009 curriculum framework broadly includes the following topics: (1) context;

(2) concerns and vision of teacher education; (3) sample redesigned schemas of current teacher education programs; (4) evaluating the developing teacher; (5) in-service education and continuous professional development; and (6) preparing teacher educators.

Curricular Areas NCFTE 2009

The framework thus created by NCFTE 2009 is designed for the main curricular areas of teacher education along with strategies to implement it. It is comprehensive and includes mathematics, social sciences, language, knowledge, theory, practice, and psychological as well as philosophical sections. As Figure 6.1 demonstrates, the framework is divided into three areas: Area A (Foundations of Education), Area В (Curriculum and Pedagogy), and Area C (School Internship). While Area A and Area В include foundations of education and curriculum and pedagogy curricula, which was already included in the earlier teacher education program by NCF 2005, Area C includes school internship, which is a crucial and newly introduced component of a teacher’s education. NCTE, 2009 observed that it is common knowledge that practice teaching (also known as teacher internship), which constitutes the most functional part of the teacher preparation has suffered severe neglect and the common complaint was that theory dominated the curriculum. As a result, practice teaching continued to suffer (p. 40). Therefore, practical teacher training or teacher internship is a crucial part of Area C.

Area A includes courses under three broad rubrics namely, learner studies, contemporary studies, and educational studies. Area В includes curriculum studies and pedagogic studies, and Area C includes school internship making NCFTE 2009 curriculum for teacher education unique from previous policies relevant to teacher education (Mondal et ah, 2015). Together, the three areas form the core classroom curriculum for teacher education at all levels: preschool, elementary, secondary, and upper or senior secondary school. The three areas though distinct are interconnected for the holistic development of teachers, a fact specified clearly by NCFTE 2009 (see Figure 6.1). Explaining the framework, NCFTE 2009 gives the example of a very young child at the pre-primary or primary level, where the focus of teacher education would be “psychological development, processes of thinking and learning, socialization processes and the construct of childhood...along with engagement with subject-content and questions of epistemology” (p. 25). While, the focus of teacher education at the upper and secondary school level would be issues relating to adolescence, and deeper engagement with school knowledge where teachers would need to be competent in subject area content. At all levels of schooling, topics on diversity, equity', children’s rights, physical and peace education, and others would form the core of teacher education (p. 26).

The comprehensive curriculum framework (see Figure 6.1) bears testimony to the effort undertaken by NCTE to improve teacher education and teacher quality' in the country. Although NCTE has not yet clearly or definitively

Curricular Areas of Initial Teacher Preparation in NCFTE 2009. Reprinted from NCTTE (2009, p. 27)

Figure 6.1 Curricular Areas of Initial Teacher Preparation in NCFTE 2009. Reprinted from NCTTE (2009, p. 27).

The Professionalization of Teaching 127

defined teacher quality, it identified botli the core traditional and non-traditional teacher quality indicators while creating the teacher curriculum. The following section analyses the NCFTE 2009 document using a content analysis approach.

NCFTE 2009 Content Analysis

Using content analysis, which is a qualitative research methodology described in Chapter 5, 10% of the relevant pages (92 pages) from NCTFE 2009 document were coded. Relevant pages are those pages from the document that contain one or more of the selected keywords (see Tables 6.1 6.2, and 6.3). Tables of contents, introductions, epilogues, summaries, and any figures and

Table 6.1 Pages Coded in Pilot Coding and Final Coding



Total Pages



Pilot Coded Pages










Table 6.2 Data Frequency’ Matrix for Traditional Teacher Quality Indicators in NCFTE 2009




Teacher Certification



Irrelevant Sentences in Document

Total Sentences in Document

























Note. S denotes the number of sentences for each category in individual documents. Percentages are rounded to the nearest 1%.

Table 6.3 Data Frequency Matrix for Non-Traditional Teacher Quality Indicators Including Teacher Accountability in NCFTE 2009





















Irrelevant Sentences in Document

Total Sentences in Document

































Note. S denotes the number of sentences for each category in individual documents. Percentages are rounded to the nearest 1%.

diagrams were excluded. The document was manually scanned for the identified keywords as listed in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 in Chapter 5.

Qualitative Results for NCFTE 2009

Data frequency matrices show the percentage of sentences coded in each category in relation to die total number of sentences, including those marked as “irrelevant” to die study. These matrices were used to compile results, which provide evidence about how NCFrE 2009 framed die various teacher quality indicators.

In NCFTE 2009, there were 848 sentences analyzed for content related to traditional teacher quality, out of which 256 sentences (30%) were irrelevant. From the sentences relevant to the study (592 sentences), 345 sentences (40%) were coded for teacher qualification, three sentences (1%) were coded for teacher certification, and 201 sentences (23%) were coded for professional development.

For NCFTE 2009, in respect to noil-traditional teacher quality indicators, there were again 848 total sentences in the document, out of which 256 (30%) were relevant to the study. From the relevant sentences in NCFTE 2009, 11 sentences (2%) coded for teacher salary/performance pay, 10 sentences (1%) coded for teacher absenteeism, two sentences (1%) coded for teacher qualified in mathematics, seven sentences (1%) coded for teacher attitude, and 13 sentences (2%) coded for teacher accountability.

The following section discusses the teacher quality discourse in respect to the selected traditional and non-traditional teacher quality indicators present in NCFTE 2009 as determined by the coding.

Teacher Quality Discourse in 2009 - NCFTE 2009

The framework highlights the context, issues, and contents of the curriculum for teacher education and stresses the need to treat teaching as a profession in which revamping teacher preparation is an urgent need.

Traditional Teacher Quality Indicators

Teacher Qualification

NCFTE 2009 recognizes the symbiotic relationship between teacher quality and student outcomes and the need for academic and professional standards for teachers. This recognition is explicitly stated in NCFTE 2009 (p. 1) as follows:

The importance of competent teachers to the nation’s school system can in no way be overemphasized. It is well known that the quality and extent of learner achievement are determined primarily by teacher competence and it is a common knowledge that the academic and professional standards of teachers constitute a critical component of the essential learning conditions for achieving the educational goals.

NCFTE 2009 clearly demarcates the differences between teacher initial education and professional development. It asserts that initial teacher education plays an important role in the making of a teacher as it marks “the initiation of a novice entrant to the calling” of the profession (p. 2). NCFTE 2009 also stresses the importance of direct human contact and social interaction among student teachers as the “core requirement for initial teacher preparation” (p. 17). The document repeatedly asserts the need for a sound and systematic teacher education program that encompasses the changing needs of society and can be upgraded with innovative skills and practices as needed.

Regarding teacher education for both elementary and secondary school positions, NCFTE 2009 stipulates the ideal duration of teacher education as four years after senior secondary or two years after a bachelor’s degree program, indicating that this “would provide enough time and opportunity for self-study, reflection and involvement, engagement with teachers, school, classroom and pedagogic activity and rigorous theoretical study” (p. 46).

Prior to explaining the curricular area of teacher education, NCFTE 2009 documents shortcomings of teacher education and its vision for a teacher and teacher education in India. First, it notes that initial teacher preparation in India for elementary school teachers suffers from isolation, a low profile, and poor visibility because it is a non-degree program. NCFTE 2009 makes a valid observation here that the early years’ education of children is crucial for the future of the individual and national development, and, therefore, teachers at elementary levels should be especially well-prepared and trained.

At the time of publication of NCFTE 2009, holders of a short-term diploma in education (D.Ed.) could teach at elementary schools in the country. Arguing that the short duration of the course failed to equip teachers with required pedagogical skills and training needed to understand children’s psychological needs and facilitate their learning, NCFTE 2009, therefore, suggested the need to upgrade the elementary teacher education system. In this regard, it cites “enhancing the entry qualification and duration of training making it equivalent to a degree program including variety of scholarship from the sciences, social sciences, mathematics and the languages” (p. 8).

Second, NCFTE 2009 stressed the need to strengthen secondary teacher education in terms of intensity, rigor, and duration. At the time of its publication, there was an excess of private colleges in India that provided sub standard education and training to teachers, and the increase in numbers of such institutions needed to be curbed by strict regulations. Such institutions and programs do not prepare teachers to impart quality education, but instead train teachers only as “transmitters” of knowledge (p. 11).

Third, NCFTE 2009 realized that the one-year B.Ed. degree program lacked practical experience and proposed increasing the duration to two years to make it more relevant to children’s learning in a transforming global situation.

Fourth, teacher education in India is noted to lack professional preparation of teachers in the sense that along with knowledge, institutions need to produce reflective teachers with a passion for teaching and teachers who possess positive attitudes and skills (NCTE, 2009). This suggests that an attempt was made to search for the best teacher education program to improve teacher quality in India’s transformative society.

While shaping teacher education for the country, NCFTE 2009 also looked at teacher characteristics globally. NCFTE 2009’s vision for teacher education kept intact the Indian culture and values and yet took into consideration globally validated teacher education principles and ideas. To this effect, the document purported that teacher education should be flexible with the changing times, empower teachers, and be “liberal, humanistic” (p. 19), and responsive to individual children’s needs. Also, NCFTE 2009 asserted that teacher education should prepare teachers to understand how students learn and how to actively engage students in learning. Furthermore, it noted that teacher education should train teachers to critically examine textbooks rather than accepting them as a given. Finally, NCFTE 2009 said that teacher education should enable teachers to understand that the responsibility of a teacher is not limited inside the classroom but extends beyond with the need to educate students as responsible citizens.

A strong component of NCFTE 2009 was the curricular area of teacher education to improve the academic and professional standards of a teacher to achieve educational outcomes. Evidence of teacher education curriculum is, therefore, extensive in the document (see Figure 6.1). NCFTE 2009 provided a comprehensive framework for a teacher education curriculum that included every aspect of education, including the theoretical, practical, psychological, philosophical, and socio-economic, to bring about a positive change in teacher education. The document asserted that teacher education had to cover a broad spectrum of areas for a quality teacher (p. 111). NCFTE 2009 explained that the teacher education curriculum framework is divided into three areas: Area A (Foundations of Education), Area В (Curriculum and Pedagogy), and Area C (School Internship).

Area A, Foundations of Education, included learner studies, contemporary studies, and educational studies, explained as follows:

  • • Learner Studies: NCFTE 2009 acknowledged that pre-service teacher education at all levels should be designed to study children and understand how they learn. For this, teacher education should include subjects like psychology, philosophy, and sociology that equip teachers with knowledge of children’s learning and thinking at all age levels. The curriculum ideally would include two to three theory courses and a practicum.
  • • Contemporary Studies: Teacher education should generate awareness of human and child rights within the Indian society'. Also, teachers should be educated to understand the classroom environment as a social context and the relationship of education to society and humanity. This curriculum would include one to two theory courses, projects, seminars, and assignments.

• Educational Studies: Teacher education curriculum should include the meaning of education, its aims, values, and knowledge, and its relevance to children’s learning. Through Educational Studies, teachers should be provided with a firm foundation of educational theory' and the practice of education. This curriculum would ideally include one to two theory' courses with assignments, built-in field-based units of study, term papers, and presentations.

Area В of the curriculum includes Curriculum Studies, Pedagogic Studies, and Assessment and Evaluation Studies, explained as follows:

  • • Curriculum Studies: NCFTE 2009 rationalizes the need to include general education principles in teacher education to develop the conceptual foundation of prospective teachers. Curriculum Studies engages student teachers with “epistemological and ideological assumptions about knoyvledge, learner, and learning; their implications for curriculum, pedagogy', and assessment in school education” (p. 28). The language component is also included in Curriculum Studies as a teacher’s language proficiency and communication skills are critical factors in student learning. It includes four to six theory’ courses yy'ith recording and analysis of observations.
  • • Pedagogic Studies: The focus is to understand school subjects and their pedagogic approach in the context of the learner and school. For example, instead of teaching basic computations in mathematics, the subject is made more relevant to the child through its usage in daily life. It includes four to six optional courses with a practicum.
  • • Assessment and Evaluation Studies: The idea is to expose student teachers to the history of evaluation and assessment and apply it not just to track students’ outcomes but also their oy'erall development. It includes one theory’ course yvith group and individual assignments and a practicum.

Lastly, Area C focuses on practical application of the theoretical aspect of teacher education. NCFTE 2009 recommends that every student teacher should have four days a yveek of practical teaching for between 12 to 20 yveeks for both two-year and four-year degree programs. The document further adds that internships should be a partnership between the school and the student teacher, and schools should make resources available to the student teacher. The student teacher develops unit plans and maintains reflective journals under a mentor.

Hoyy'ever, although the NCFTE 2009 carefully maps units that should be included in the teacher education curriculum, it rey'eals that “a teacher education curriculum frameyvork needs to be in consonance yvith the curriculum framework for school education” (p. 111). This reaffirms the belief that teacher education curriculum should not be a static document, and teachers should be trained to rise to the demands of the learner. Also, yvith the NCFTE 2009 being a template for teacher education across the country, it should ideally be adapted per individual state needs, keeping in mind the aims, goals, and

132 Education Policies for Teacher Quality

values of the document. Believing teacher education curriculum to be a relevant and planned effort, NCFTE 2009 calls for “participatory curriculum planning involving all stakeholders, modular organization of curriculum in terms of critically engaging with theory and bringing practice within its perspective and a professional approach” (p. 9).

Practicum courses are an integral part of the NCFTE 2009 teacher education curriculum, showing that for teacher quality to improve, hands-on experience helps with “learning to integrate ideas, experiences, and professional skills” (p. 38). To ensure that teacher education curriculum is systematically put together and research based, NCFTE 2009 advocates the need for research to document practices that can be included in the study for student teachers and also innovative strategies and models to be included in teacher education curriculum.

Thus, through a single model of teacher education curriculum, NCFTE 2009 includes all features to bring a desirable change in teacher education and an impact on the educational system in India. NCFTE 2009 documents the need to replace the teacher education model in place at that time, which was short in duration and low in planning and quality of teaching, with a model that “integrates general education with professional development along with intensive internships with schools” (p. 46). Table 6.4 has a comparison of a few key features of teacher practice in place prior to NCFTE 2009 and teacher practice proposed at the time of publication of the curriculum framework.

Although the NCFTE 2009 creates an invaluable framework for teacher education, it realizes that the framework will remain just a document unless

Table 6.4 Teacher Education Before NCFTE 2009 Versus Teacher Education Proposed by NCFTE 2009

Practice of Teacher Education Before NCFTE 2009 Publication

Proposed Practice of Teacher Education

Focus on psychological aspects of learners without adequate engagement with context

Understand the social, cultural, and political context in which learners grow

Knowledge treated as external to the student and something that has to be transmitted from teacher to student

Knowledge generated in the shared context of teaching, learning, and personal experiences through critical enquiry

Lack of sufficient student teacher internships

Planned and supervised internships proposed

Short training schedule after general education

Sustained engagement of long duration

Subject-matter competency largely ignored

Understand the need for subject-matter competency

Students’ assumptions about social realities, the learner, and the process of learning are not addressed

Students’ own position in society' and their assumptions are addressed as part of classroom discourse

Note. Adapted from NCFTE (2009, p. 52).

implemented by qualified, competent, and professional teacher educators. However, there is a shortage of qualified educators for teachers due to a lack of professional development for pre-school and elementary school teachers and inadequate design for post-graduate programs in education (NCTE, 2009, p. 75). To address the issue, NCFTE 2009 highlighted the need for teacher educators and outlined their requirements. The document stressed the requirement of a minimum of a B.Ed. degree for elementary teacher educators and an M. Ed. for secondary school teacher educators. The aim was to have proficient teacher educators to educate and train teachers that have an impact on student development and learning.

Teacher Certification

Teacher certification in India is obtained by a teaching certificate or short-term certificate course from authorized and recognized institutions like CENTA. In contrast, teacher qualification includes pre-sen-ice teacher education (e.g., degree or diploma courses) from private and public institutions recognized in India. NCFTE 2009 does not discuss teacher certification and the focus of the document is on teaching degrees and diplomas.

Professional Development

Regarding a need for professionalization of teacher education in the country, NCFTE 2009 upholds “initial and continuing professional development to ensure adequate supply of professionally competent teachers” (p. 2) and development of “reflective teachers” (p. 15). In respect to the training of teachers, NCFTE 2009 recognizes the need for activities and interactions that would contribute towards sustaining professional development.

The document notes that, as professional development is an important ingredient in enhancing teacher quality, currently there are many opportunities and avenues for such, with varying degrees of motivating teachers and improving student outcomes. Professional development still lacks adequate management and compromises on treating teaching as a profession. NCFTE 2009 strongly recommends careful planning and designing of in-service or professional development training and recommends certain routes towards teachers’ continuing professional development.

First, there can be short-term and long-term courses, ranging between four to five days and up to three months, on specific teacher topics to enable teachers to strengthen their knowledge in any area. Second, teachers can be trained on using distance media like the internet that acts as a resource for ideas and for wider dissemination of knowledge with professionals worldwide. Third, teachers can be encouraged to take a sabbatical year for study and research that will assist them in enhancing their teaching in class for the betterment of student learning. Fourth, teachers can be encouraged to attend conferences and meetings connected to the profession, with schools covering the expense. Fifth, schools can provide planned and professional workshops regularly for teachers based on teachers’ needs and concerns and make available required resources for them. Sixth, teacher fellowships can be granted to teachers to enable them to work as faculty in colleges that are preparing future teachers. Finally, schools can provide the opportunity for exchange programs for teachers within the country and outside and utilize sendees of visiting teachers to enhance the quality of learning in schools (NCTE, 2009).

Furthermore, NCFTE 2009 advocated certain mechanisms be put into place for professional development and for enacting the curriculum framework. One of the mechanisms it strongly recommended was resource centers or teacher learning centers (TLCs). These centers are proposed to assist both pre-service training and professional or continuing education for teachers. Furthermore, a cluster of schools selected by the DIETs to place pre-sendee student teachers for internship can also be used for in-service or professional development for existing schoolteachers. NCFTE 2009 pointed out that the need and awareness for professional development gave rise to more than 500 DIETs previously, although no more than 75% of the institutions were functional at the time of publication with the reason being lack of qualified faculty to provide professional training or in-service training to teachers. NCFTE 2009, recognized the need for expansion and reforms in professional development to enhance teacher quality and make it meaningful for the progress of children, recommends strengthening of Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs) that are responsible for in-service training of secondary teachers and making them responsible for professional development of elementary teachers as well.

Non-Traditional Teacher Quality Indicators

Teacher Salary/Pcrfonuance Pay

Apart from stating that the quality of a teacher includes teachers’ status, remuneration, conditions of work, and their academic and professional education and that violation of any of the above factors could impact teacher quality (p. 2), NCFTE 2009 made no other comment on teacher salary or performance pay.

Teacher Qualification in Mathematics

NCFTE 2009 did not discuss in detail teacher subject-matter competency, though it did mention that specific subject training for teachers is a part of the curriculum framework.

Teacher Absenteeism

NCFTE 2009 did not address teacher absenteeism.

Teacher Attitude

NCFTE 2009 stressed the positive attitude that teachers have to possess, apart from initial and on-going teacher education and professional development. It purported that a teacher in a global world “must be equipped not only to teach but to understand children” (p. 2). Like NCF 2005, NCFTE 2009 also mandated that teachers should refrain from any form of corporal punishment and be facilitators of children’s learning, helping students “construct knowledge and meaning” and not just be “givers” of information (p. 3), while displaying an encouraging attitude towards their students.

Teacher Accountability

With respect to teacher autonomy, NCFTE 2009 asserted that teachers should play an active role in designing textbook content and curriculum to improve the learning outcomes of the students. NCFTE 2009 talks about teacher autonomy in the form of preparing teacher education programs to inculcate responsibility towards student learning.

To ensure that the framework that is the result of planned efforts is put into practice, the NCFTE 2009 outlined certain implementation strategies. First, to generate awareness and initiation, the document is uploaded on an official NCFTE website. Second, institutions in India that have a stake in teacher education are given access to the document. Third, the framework is circulated amongst deans of all education universities in the country and directors of the SCERTs and other bodies connected with teacher education. Through workshops, the institutions are encouraged to revise their own existing teacher education programs in the light of the framework. Fourth, teacher education institutions are encouraged to have a four-five years program after completion of 12 years of schooling or a two years program after graduation. Fifth, regional workshops conducted at various states in the country with academic support from NCFTE to revisit their teacher education programs and treat teaching as a profession. And, to prevent unrecognized teacher education programs, a national dialogue will be initiated to bring all teacher education programs or institutions under recognized Universities (NCTE, 2009).

Conceptual Framework Alignment

NCFTE 2009 fits with the overall conceptual framework explained in Chapter 3 slightly differently than NCF 2005 did. Specifically, to what degree does NCFTE 2009 align with the de-facto education-economy link? Is it scripted to fit with broader legitimacy-seeking goals for the nation or education system as a whole? And, is there decoupled implementation of NCFTE 2009 as there was with NCF 2005?

136 Education Policies for Teacher Quality De Facto Education-Economy Link in NCFTE 2009

Immediately on page 1 of NCFTE 2009, in the introduction to the document itself, international legitimacy of education in India is established as a primary goal for reforming teacher education.

Two major developments in the recent years form the background to the present reform in teacher education - the political recognition of Universalization of Elementary' Education (UEE) as a legitimate demand and the state commitment towards UEE in the form of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

(NCFTE 2009, p.l)

This reference to the Universalization of Elementary Education is an acknowledgement of the impact that Education for All (EFA) as well as the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs and SDGs, respectively) have had on educational change and development in India.

The recognition of India’s efforts to align national educational goals with international declarations and universal standards development is referenced further in the section on “Assessment and Evaluation Studies” (p.39).

There is a need to emphasise on the need to view assessment as an aspect of learning. Teachers must recognise the role evaluation plays in motivating children to learn. This is particularly crucial to achieve the goals of the right to education and to bring every' child into the fold of quality education. The current system of evaluation as a means to select by failing is not consistent yvith the goal of universalizing education.

(NGFTE 2009, p.39)

This section also links national education policy and development in India to the broader global testing and accountability movement, and ties evaluation to the quality of education. This is almost a direct statement of the de facto link between education and the economy, which is part of the broader legitimacy- seeking agenda of the Indian educational system. On the same page, NGFTE 2009 emphasizes the legitimacy of broader educational testing and evaluation to assess learner achievement at higher levels than classrooms.

The scope of learner assessment and evaluation needs to be broadened to go beyond the limited context of syllabus-based achievement testing; achiey'ement scores in a subject need to be linked yvith the child’s overall development; testing should cover higher ley'el of learning objectives, not just information. The [National Curriculum Frameyvork] proposes school- based evaluation as a long-term goal of examination reform.

The fact that school-based evaluation is being called out in NCFTE 2009 suggests that global testing and accountability expectations, standards, and practices are also becoming more valid in the Indian context.

Despite the overt alignment with international declarations about education, universal standards for education, and an emphasis on testing and accountability for students and teachers, NCFTE 2009 does not as overtly emphasize the explicit role that education plays in economic development, stability, or growth. There is much mention of developing curriculum and teachers who are able to support students from diverse social, economic, political, and cultural backgrounds, but none that specifically state the education-economy connection.

Legitimacy-Seeking Script of NCFTE 2009

Legitimacy is often difficult to empirically observe, and perhaps even more daunting is measuring legitimacy-seeking in a national policy document like NCFTE 2009. But, as discussed in Chapter 5, there are roughly three indicators of legitimacy-seeking, which include (1) the intensive or frequency of legitimization (or delegitimization) claims; (2) the evaluative tone of communication through or related to a national policy document; and (3) the strength of communicated messages in relation to existing contextualized attitudes (Druckman, 2001; Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Zaller, 1992). As the evidence presented earlier in this chapter suggests, NCFTE 2009 communicates intense legitimization claims (see the previous section), is uniquely evaluative in its positive messages about the value of educational testing and accountability, especially in relation to national education quality, and builds these messages of legitimacy out from a foundation in NCF 2005 as well as more broadly expressed critiques of education in India (Basheer, 2014).

The legitimization claims in NCFTE 2009 are strong and frequent, especially in the introduction to this policy document where those voices are expected to be heard most frequently and loudly. In particular, the emphasis on the attainment of UEE in India suggests that the whole NCFTE 2009 document is scripted to respond to that national (and international) goal. NCFTE 2009, however, aligns legitimization messages with both international legitimacy and national contextualization. The frequent references in NCFTE 2009 back to the NCF 2005 create a consistently aligned approach to legitimization in the 2009 document, which NCF 2005 along did not have.

A further legitimization effort is that NCFTE 2009 seeks to establish teacher evaluation as a core component of educational reform in India. The shift towards making testing and accountability not only a student-focused change effort, but one that encompasses teachers suggests that India is aligned with the most rigorous international standards about teacher quality, even if those standards are not being implemented in India (Azam & Kingdon, 2015). For example, on page 59 of NCFTE 2009, the delegitimization of India’s teacher evaluation practices was stated as follows:

A glaring weakness of existing teacher education practices is the restricted scope of evaluation of student teachers and its excessively quantitative nature. It is confined to measurement of mainly cognitive learning through annual/terminal tests; skill measurement is limited to a specified number of lessons. The qualitative dimensions of teacher education, other professional capacities, attitudes and values remain outside the purview of evaluation. Further, evaluation is not continuous as it should be; the teacher education process is characterized by a wide range and variety of curricular inputs spread over the entire duration of training according to a thought out sequence. These need to be evaluated at appropriate stages and feedback given to the trainees.

As mentioned earlier, the intensity of delegitimization claims can have a legitimizing effect because it signals that the misalignment of Indian education policy, especially related to teachers, is both recognized and being acted on. The implicit claim, then, is that by recognizing and forcefully pointing out shortcomings in previous policies and their implementation, the new policies (i.e., NCFTE 2009) will correct these identified issues and move forward in a way that aligns with the values and activities that are legitimized. In this case, the values to be acted upon are provide more qualitatively substantive evaluation and feedback to student teachers in India. The implication is also that this teacher evaluation will be continuous and diversely measured as part of a broader strategic reform effort. Of course, the appositional approach to achieving legitimacy in the NCFTE 2009 suggests that it is perhaps more symbolic than applied, especially since the implementation guidelines may not fully provide for infrastructure, capacity, or sustainability.

Knowing that the evaluative tone of NCFTE 2009 is to delegitimize the Indian approach to teacher education, training, and evaluation and replace it with approaches aligned to international standards suggests that NCFTE 2009 is scripted to reflect both legitimacy-seeking in the global community of social, political, and economic national peers (or aspirational peers), and in the localized Indian national community, too. The strength of communicate messages about teacher education and educational reform is presented in NCFTE 2009 in relation to existing contextualized attitudes. For example, in Chapter 4 of NCFTE 2009 (p. 63) an effort is made to situate initiatives to support and provide professional development for in-service teachers through already established Indian educational services, such as District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) in local districts, SCERTs in Indian states, and Block and Cluster Resource Centres, which were created across India more broadly. By providing these contextualized examples of how India already provides resources to support the training and evaluation of teachers, NCFTE 2009 is providing a script for building education in India through previously approved (and funded) programs and resources.

Decoupled Implementation Process of NCFTE 2009

Every national education policy cycle culminates in the implementation phase. This is true as well for national frameworks such as NCFTE 2009. The final section of this national teacher education reform document focused on implementation strategies through advocacy, curriculum development, special teacher education areas, professional orientation and training programs, development of teacher educators, and further research. Of course, implementation of teacher quality reforms relies on the provision of infrastructure, the strategic planning of capacity’-building, and the sustainability of the change or reform through the early involvement of targeted stakeholders. Unfortunately, NCFTE 2009 like other national Indian education policies, falls short in all three areas leading to a decoupling of the framework from real world implementation and practice.

The most significant decoupling of NCFTE 2009 from its practical implementation is in the area of infrastructure. In short, there are no identified facilities, resources, or other infrastructure elements in the published plan. In fact, most of the implementation strategies seems to revolve around further discussion of what is needed. It should be noted that this is not a negative next step, but discussion is not the same as implementation and any infrastructure, facilities, or resources dedicated for further discussion or research are not able to address the real changes called for in the teacher preparation and professional development processes. In particular, a key point made throughout NCFTE 2009 had to do with the lack of evaluation of student teachers and inservice teachers, and Chapter 6 of this document which focuses on implementation ignores the evaluation component completely. Excluding evaluation of teachers from the implementation strategy overall is perhaps an oversight, but a glaring one since much of the legitimacy signaled in the previous chapters of NCFTE 2009 used teacher evaluation (and the lack of evaluation teachers received in India during the era in which this framework was written).

Capacity building is another area of implementation coupling that could have brought NCFTE 2009 to life in the national, state, and local education systems throughout India. The second major implementation strategy' category' described on pages 90-91 in NCFTE 2009 is curriculum development. Since capacity is comprised of knowledge and skill, the development of teacher training and professional development curriculum could play a key role in this process. But, again, this implementation had more to do with forming “working groups” (p. 90), “commissioning eminent scholars” (p. 91), calling on individual states to create regional language versions of teacher preparation materials (p. 91), and vaguely calling on DIETs to revise their teacher education model (but without a specific plan for how to do so) (p. 91). In other words, there is no operationalizable strategy for building the knowledge and skills of Indian teachers at any stage of their career (either pre-service or in- service) nor is there a strategy for how to build the knowledge and skills of those who would train teachers. It literally does not exist in NCFTE 2009.

Finally, the sustainability of NCFTE 2009 both to get it implemented and then ensure that the important and meaningful reforms it calls for are consistently implemented over time requires the involvement of targeted stakeholders from the beginning. This means that teachers, teacher educators, representatives from teacher preparation institutions, and others would need to be part of the planning, implementation, and accountability phases for all NCFTE 2009 activities. Like NCF 2005 before it, NCFTE 2009 was developed by an expert committee, but did not bring the voice of the broader education community into the framework itself, nor as part of the implementation strategy overall. Page v of the introduction to NCFTE 2009 says that it was developed,

based on the ideas generated in a series of intensive deliberations by the members of the committee and eminent scholars, teacher educators, teachers, trainee teachers, representatives of NGOs, faculty of RIEs of NCERT, SCERTs, DIETs, LASEs, CTEs, university departments of education, and state departments of education at the two national consultative meets held at Udaipur and Hyderabad.

It is also stated that the NCFTE 2009 draft document was posted online for feedback, and that many experts, practitioners, and institutions did so. But, there is little to suggest that any of the teachers, teacher educators, trainee teachers, or members of the public providing feedback were part of the process in a more empowered or leadership role. The expert committee comprised of professors and national level policymakers and scholars seem to be the ones driving NCTE 2009, which means that when it comes to implementation, the process is a top-down, hierarchical one, and a voluntary (i.e., unfunded) process as well. NCFTE 2009 is not even an unfunded mandate, it is simply a framework for improvement. And, as a result, it is has had lackluster implementation (Narayanan, 2020).

Questioning the Impact of Teacher Quality Reform Through NCFTE 2009

The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (i.e., NCFTE 2009) is a strong and important document in Indian education. It highlights failures in the teacher preparation and professional development system, but also makes meaningful suggestions for how to correct previous errors and move forward to build a strong, expert, caring, and thriving teacher community in India. It is aligned with the best practices and global legitimized ideas for creating and sustaining high quality teachers. And, it is scripted in a way to build legitimacy for all of the suggestions and recommendations it makes. But, ultimately it is an unfulfilled promise to India’s educational community and more importantly to India’s children.

As with NCF 2005, the question is not one of how NCFTE 2009 failed because as a framework it did not fail; in fact, it succeeded. The failure is one of implementation. This is seen through the complete decoupling of the policy framework itself and any sort of implementation through the development of infrastructure, capacity, or a sustainable network of champions and leaders to guide its implementation. No standards for implementation were created for NCFTE 2009. Since there were no standards for implementation, there could not be any actual strategy for implementation itself. There were no plans for a strategic rollout of NCFTE 2009’s recommendations either. Instead, like NCF 2005, NCFTE 2009 served and still serves as a vision statement.

Yet again, India’s mission of reviving its national education system through the development of teacher quality was a failure, but NCFTE 2009 did further build an internationally legitimized and rigorous vision for what teacher quality could be in India. And, if the national goal for NCFTE 2009 was actually more symbolic than practical, it can be unquestionably confirmed that it was a complete success - just not an implemented or sustainable success.


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7 Restoring Credibility Through Teacher Quality

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