NCERT: Diligently Working In The Interest Of Students And Teachers

NCERT undertakes, promotes and coordinates research in areas related to school education and prepares and publishes model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc. Here, Dr. Anup Rajput, Head (incharge) Script Division, CIET, shares more about the activities of NCERT in conversation with Varsha Verma of All About Book Publishing.

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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education. “The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to: undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc,” tells Dr. Anup Rajput, Head (incharge) Script Division, CIET.

Curriculum-building…

“Right to education is mandatory. We cater to CBSE-affiliated schools. The national framework of curriculum is developed by NCERT. NCERT publishes around 6 cr books per year. Few states adopt our textbooks while 22 states adapt our textbooks,” tells Dr. Rajput.

He also shares that NCERT also researches the pedagogies of children learning, teacher training, assessing children. NCERT also does the National Achievement Survey, which is done every three years. The last such survey was done in 2017.

Teacher training….

“There are 8.5 million teachers in schools and we cannot train all the teachers. So, we impart teacher education at state level and then the SCERT (State Council of Educational Research and Training) take care of the capacity building and further training. We organise pre-service and in-service training of teachers and develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices. We also collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions,” tells Dr. Rajput. “In short, we offer hand holding to states and union territories.”

“Last year, in September 2019, NCERT initiated and reaching out to 4.2 million teachers. NISHTHA, National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement, is a capacity building programme for improving quality of school education through integrated teacher training. It aims to build competencies among all the teachers and school principals at the elementary stage. The functionaries (at the state, district, block, cluster level) are trained in an integrated manner on learning outcomes, school based assessment, learner-centred pedagogy, new initiatives in education, addressing diverse needs of children through multiple pedagogies, etc. We trained 33,000 teachers, educators, KRPs (Key resource persons), school headmasters, principals etc last year,” he adds.

On Draft National Education Policy 2019…

“It is a very new idea and most commendable is the focus on the foundation stage. It is already made compulsory in many countries,” shares Dr. Rajput.

On distribution…

“We give copyrights to state, who print books as per their requirements. Few states also procure printed books from us at the regional production centres. We also have vendors, wholesalers and booksellers who distribute our books. Seeing the digital trend, NCERT also offers books on our online portal, where we do not charge for any postal costs,” shares Dr. Rajput.

Challenges faced…

On asking about the challenges faced, Dr. Rajput shares that piracy of books is a biggest concern, which is a loss to NCERT. “Secondly, there are various departments in NCERT and we need huge academic support for bringing out a well-researched book. It is a rigorous process and we involve both in-house and outside experts,” he adds.

On private publishers…

On asking about the status of private publishers, Dr. Rajput shares that it is good to have multiplicity of resources but it is a big problem that there is no agency which approves the content of private publishers. “There should be an agency to approve their content and pricing,” he adds.

Other activities…

“We act as a clearing house for ideas and information in matters related to school education and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of Universalisation of Elementary Education,” he adds.

In addition to research, development, training, extension, publication and dissemination activities, NCERT is an implementation agency for bilateral cultural exchange programmes with other countries in the field of school education. “The NCERT also interacts and works in collaboration with the international organisations, visiting foreign delegations and offers various training facilities to educational personnel from developing countries. Infact, we are working in the interest of both children and teachers,” concludes Dr. Rajput.

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