Govt schoolteachers can now opt for sabbatical

The prescription to cure poor teachers’ performance, a problem that has plagued the State’s school system for long, is in tune with the government’s “special allocation” that it made in the 2010-11 budget for instructors to earn graduate and post-graduate degrees.

The proposal, which aims at significantly changing the way the authorities prepare teachers to run classrooms is pending with the Department of Primary and Secondary Education for clearance.

By offering teachers to obtain higher degrees, the department expects to put in place a good and effective system for training teachers who will then be better positioned to enrich the space between themselves and students.

If implemented, the scheme will allow teachers to go for further studies for up to three years. Happily, for teachers, the pursuit of higher studies will not burn a hole in their pockets. They will continue to draw salaries when on a sabbatical.

Expenses

The government will pay the requisite fee and other expenses. “We are waiting for the Government to give a go-ahead to the scheme which was in the pipeline ever since the Chief Minister announced it in the budget,” an official from the department told Deccan Herald.

Although Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had allocated Rs five crore for the scheme in the budget, the proposal estimates that it would cost not less than Rs 25 crore.
“We hope that the government would approve the additional allocation,” the official added. About 750 primary and 620 high school teachers will benefit from the initiative in the first year.

The scheme, however, will have a string attached to it —only new entrants to the teaching field or those aged below 35 years will be considered. Besides, under the scheme, the department will ask various universities to “handpick” the teachers.
The teachers, however, could apply as well by simply expressing a desire to study further. As a second step, the department will scrutinise the applications. “Only teachers passionate about higher studies will be preferred. We will not force them to acquire higher degrees if they don’t really want to,” the official added.

“Any one with a Diploma in Education can teach primary students. Keeping in mind the fast-changing scenario in knowledge explosion, it would be unwise to rest on a single degree for teaching.

“Hence, it’s better that teachers arm themselves with higher degrees and thereby teach the students better. Similarly, high school teachers would be expected to acquire post-graduation degrees,” the official reasoned.

As science, maths, and English are considered difficult subjects to teach, instructors for these subjects will be preferred over their counterparts in other “easy” subjects.
While a high school science or maths teacher will have to pursue an MSc or a PG Diploma in relevant subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Maths), English teachers will be required to opt for an MA or a PG Diploma in that language.

Primary teachers could either pursue a Bachelor’s degree or opt for a Diploma programme in relevant subjects.

The initiative, however, bars teachers from studying outside Karnataka. Although they would be able to study at any college or university of their choice, they would have to opt for institutes based in the State only.

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