Rabindra Nath Tagore once professed,

“A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.”

The historical development of teacher education in India dates back to the history of Indian education itself. India is regarded to have one of the largest systems of teacher education in the world. Teacher education was born in India in around 2500 B.C.

Historical Development of Teacher Education in India

The historical development of teacher education in India can be divided into five parts which are as follows:

Ancient and Medieval Period (2500 B.C. – 500 B.C.)

The Hindu society was divided into four classes in ancient times and from the four classes, the teaching community was served by the Brahmins who devoted themselves to the work of promotion, acquisition, and conservation of knowledge and its transmission to posterity.

Buddhist Period (500 B.C. – 1200 A.D.)

During this period, there was an emergence of the formal system of teacher training. It achieved widespread expansion following the recognition of the importance of teacher training. There was a monastic system that required every new admission to be placed under the guidance and supervision of a preceptor known as Upajjhaya.

Muslim Period (1200 A.D. – 1700 A.D.)

There was no formal form of teacher training during this period. In many Muslim countries, education is believed to be a duty as stated in the Holy Koran. Hence, education was a public affair and held in high esteem. Makhtabs and Madrasas were established by Indian Mohammedan rulers in their dominion.

British Period (1700 A.D. – 1947 A.D.)

The teacher education system of the Mohammedan rulers was changed by the Britishers through their philosophy. They developed a system that suited their needs and incorporated an advanced system of education. The European Missionaries initially established schools and turned them into teacher training institutions later on. At Serampore near Calcutta, the Danish Missionaries established a normal teacher training school. The basis of the teacher training program was formed in Madras after Dr. Andrew Bell started the Monitorial System experiment. It was also used in England and is also referred to as the Bell-Lancaster system.

Teacher Education In Independent India (1947- present)

In pre-independent India, there were many programs developed for teacher education such as the Monitorial System, Teacher’s Training Schools, Wood’s Despatch (1854), Lord Stanley’s Despatch (1859), Government of India Resolution on Education Policy (1904), and (1913), and The Hartog Committee (1929) to name a few. Following Indian Independence, many steps were taken to forward formal teacher education such as the University Education Commission (1948-49), Secondary Education Commission (1952-53), Ford Foundation Term (1954-present), Pires Committee (1956), Education Commission (1964-66), National Policy Statement on Education (1968), First Asian Conference on Teacher Education, ITEP Plan of National Council of Educational Research and Training, IATE, National Commission on Teachers, the National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1986, The Acharya Ramamurti Committee (1990), Yashpal Committee (1993), National Knowledge Commission (2007), and the Teacher Education in Five Year Plans, to name a few.

Kothari Commission on Teacher Education

The Kothari Commission or the Education Commission (1964-66) displayed a keen enthusiasm toward teacher education. It observed that teachers needed professional education and there was an essential need for a sound program to impart the same. The same would lead to a qualitative improvement in education at all levels of teacher education to meet the requirements of the national system of education. The National Policy Statement on Education professed that all the factors which impact the quality of education and their contribution to the national development of teachers are certainly the most important.

Discoveries of Kothari Commission

Teacher education has existed for a long time in India and over the years, the Indian government has taken many initiatives to impart the same so that the country can have more qualified and well-trained teachers. These are some the findings and discoveries found by Kothari Commission.

  1. It highlighted the weaknesses of the teachers of the time.
  2. It also identified the lackings of research in teaching methodology and pedagogy.
  3. It identified the problems generated from the conventional rigidity of the education system.
  4. It highlighted that training should be provided to the teachers regarding the appropriate usage of teaching aids.
  5. It emphasized the correct usage of the workshops which could be used to enhance the teaching-learning experience.

Recommendations on Teacher Education

  • It selected some academic institutions and gathered data regarding the learning experience which eventually provided with guidance sources.
  • It emphasized on the supervisory staff at these academic institutions.
  • It also highlighted on the usage of smaller courses and programs to enhance the teaching-learning experience.
  • The commission laid the foundation for the importance of understanding the concepts along with appropriate guidance.
  • There should be professional training should be provided to the other staff of the academic institutions along with teachers.