Genesis and Development of Teacher Education in India

From the Vedic times, formalized education has been an integral part of the socialization of the Indian youth. The medium and content of education have evolved with the prevailing political forces in the subcontinent, making the modern Indian education system a melting pot of Western style and integral education systems.

Teacher Development in India

Teachers benefit from CPD because it allows them to learn new information and apply it to their growing knowledge. New information is always developing, not just in our topic areas but also in teaching techniques and technology. For instance, the teaching and learning process has recently changed from a behaviorist approach to a constructivist one. Such fresh trends and advancements are many. The body of knowledge in many fields is growing due to discoveries and advances. A teacher must be aware of these advancements as the knowledge realm of courses ranging from languages to physics, arts, and social sciences are expanding daily. As educators, we cannot ignore these advancements in our field. A knowledgeable person exudes confidence and is valued by his or her peers and pupils. If a teacher stays current with changes in his or profession, they will be able to reply to student questions more effectively.

Pre-service and in-service teacher training programs are the two main categories of teacher training programs in India. Teacher professional development programs are often referred to as in-service teacher training programs. This aspect of in-service teacher education was emphasized in several policy texts.

Guru-Shishyas During the Vedic Period

The Vedic period in ancient India lasted from around 1500 BCE to 600 BCE, and it was a time when education was considered important. The Vedic system of education, also known as the guru-shishya (teacher-student) tradition, was the primary method of transmitting knowledge and skills from one generation to the next.

During the Vedic period, education was not just limited to acquiring knowledge and skills but also included character development and moral values. The guru, or teacher, was considered a revered figure and respected for his knowledge and wisdom. The teacher-student relationship was based on mutual respect and trust, and the guru was often seen as a mentor and guide. The primary focus of Vedic education was the study of the Vedas, which were sacred texts that contained knowledge about various aspects of life, including religion, philosophy, and science. Students were trained in the study of the Vedas by the guru, who would impart knowledge through oral instruction and memorization. The students were also taught other subjects, such as grammar, logic, and mathematics.

The Vedic system of education also placed great emphasis on the development of character and moral values. Students were taught to be honest, truthful, and respectful. They were also taught to be self-disciplined and to respect the needs and opinions of others. The guru would often use stories and examples to impart moral values and to teach the importance of being a good and responsible person. In addition to the study of the Vedas, students were also trained in various practical skills such as agriculture, animal husbandry, and metalworking. This was done to ensure that students could support themselves and their families after completing their education.

Western Style Education during the Colonial Era

During the colonial era in India, the British introduced Western-style education to prepare Indians for administrative roles in the British Raj. The primary focus of this education was to impart knowledge and skills that would help Indians understand and support the British system of governance. Christian missionaries established India's first Western-style educational institutions in the early 1800s. These institutions provided education to Indians and Europeans and primarily focused on subjects such as English, mathematics, and science. The curriculum was based on the British education system, and the teaching methods were also heavily influenced by British education practices.

In 1835, the British government established Wood's Dispatch, marking the beginning of India's formal education system. The Dispatch proposed that the government should take over the responsibility of education and provide financial support for establishing schools and colleges. As a result, many schools and colleges were established across the country, providing education to Indians in subjects such as English, mathematics, science, and history. The British government also established teacher training institutions, such as the Normal School in Chennai, to train teachers for the primary level. The curriculum of these institutions was based on the British education system, and the teachers were trained to teach subjects such as English, mathematics, and science.

The introduction of Western-style education during the colonial era significantly impacted India. It led to an increase in the number of literate individuals and also helped to spread knowledge about British culture and values. However, it also had negative effects on Indian society. The education system was primarily focused on preparing Indians for administrative roles and did not provide education in subjects such as Indian history, culture, and languages. Additionally, British culture and values heavily influenced the education system, which led to a loss of traditional Indian knowledge and values.

Prominent Moments of Significance for Teacher Education in Post-Colonial India

After independence, the government of India recognized the importance of education and made it a priority. The first National Policy on Education was launched in 1968, emphasizing the need for a well-trained teaching workforce. The policy led to the establishment of many teacher education institutions across the country. In the 1980s, the government launched the Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) program to educate children with disabilities. This program emphasized the need for special education teachers and led to establishment of special education teacher training institutions.

The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was established in 1993 to regulate and standardize teacher education in India. The council has played a significant role in improving the quality of teacher education and ensuring that teachers are well-prepared to meet the needs of the students. In recent years, the government has launched several initiatives to improve the quality of teacher education. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) are two major initiatives that aim to improve the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels. These initiatives have led to an increase in teacher education institutions and resulted in introducing of new teacher education programs.

Dealing with Emerging Challenges

Teachers are asked to use new teaching and learning techniques today. Additionally, they are pushed to use technology in teaching and learning. Teachers face obstacles as a result of all these tendencies. It might be easier to maintain discipline in the classroom by using physical punishment, carrying out the formative evaluation, teaching in inclusive classrooms, and doing similar tasks. A teacher today must deal with issues like managing the diversity of students in the classroom, ensuring gender, caste, class, ethnicity, and religious equity, creating an inclusive classroom, adopting positive discipline in place of corporal punishment, instilling humane values, and ensuring social justice. For instance, some educators who have long been involved in the conventional educational system are hesitant to adopt technology-mediated teaching and learning methods because they feel they need to be more comfortable using them. On the other hand, instructors feel unprepared to teach kids due to the growing usage of computers by tech-savvy students. These new techniques are tough for many teachers.

Professional Networking

In contrast to the past, today is the age of collaboration rather than competitiveness and solitary labor. Instead of tackling issues alone, teamwork, resource sharing, and networking improve people's capabilities. CPD suggests that instructors acquire the skills and mindset necessary for cooperation and collaboration. Therefore, the capacity for technology-mediated networking is necessary for exchanging knowledge, concepts, and experiences and for project cooperation. Professional networking is essential for collectively discussing and commenting on professional challenges and for educational gains. Coworkers with more expertise and experience can effectively guide and facilitate such networked systems. Opportunities for CPD provide us the capacity to build technology-mediated networks and utilize them for professional gain.


The genesis of teacher education in India can be traced back to the ancient Vedic education system. The British colonial period and the post-independence period have also played a significant role in shaping the development of teacher education in India. Today, the government is taking several initiatives to improve the quality of teacher education and ensure that teachers are well-prepared to meet the needs of the students. The future of teaching in India will be shaped by several factors, such as the increasing use of technology in education, the increased emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, the increasing awareness of the importance of mental and emotional health of students, and the changing demographics of the country.

Updated on: 03-Feb-2023

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