Since 1995, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has been implementing a project called Human Rights and National Values for Teacher Educators, realizing from the beginning that teachers are the best agents for bringing the message of human rights to other teachers. The project has two main components: materials production and orientation of key resource persons. A brief outline of each activity follows.
The council has published a two-volume module with five and four units, respectively. The first five units have already been translated into Hindi and the last four are to be published in Hindi very soon.
The module has been widely circulated and acclaimed by teacher educators. It is self-instructional, as a special paper on human rights education (HRE) will not be part of teacher education in the near future. But if the teacher educator is sensitized and the teacher learner inspired by the educator, then HRE can be easily integrated into other related units of the curriculum. It is therefore imperative to rely on a "cascade model," which will orient key resource persons who will bring the message to the teacher learners. The module was developed after a series of meetings and discussions among the authors, reviewers and editors of the respective units. They were invited from many national-level educational bodies such as the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and the University of Delhi. Volume 1 of the module contains the following:
Unit 1 General Introduction to Human Rights Education
Unit 2 Human Rights at the Elementary Level
Unit 3 Human Rights at the Secondary Level
Unit 4 Mechanism of Implementing Human Rights
Unit 5 Rights of the Girl Child
This volume was extensively used in the orientation courses organized by the NCTE, which discussed each unit in detail. It was also sent to experts, scholars and educators throughout the country. Most commented that the NCTE's initiatives were laudable and that the module was well designed.
The second volume of the module contains the following.
Unit 6 Rights of Children
Unit 7 Democracy and Education
Unit 8 Egalitarianism: The Indian Experience
Unit 9 Secularism
The units were developed after a series of meetings and discussions by persons invited from NCERT, IGNOU and University of Delhi. The units have been reviewed by eminent professors of political science from the University of Delhi.
The council produced two well-accepted video programs illustrating the salient features of HRE with footage of pre-school, elementary and secondary school situations. Each is 20 minutes long and has been translated into Hindi. They were written and reviewed by a panel of experts from Educational Television Production. A 30-minute panel discussion in English on human rights and the role of teachers was also recorded. The panelists were K.P. Saksena, a political science professor, the director of the Institute of World Congress on Human Rights Education, a professor of political science and the author of books on HRE; Sh. Ramsaran Joshi, bureau chief of the newspaper Nai Dunia in New Delhi and author of many articles on human rights and the tribal people of Baster, Madhya Pradesh; and J.S. Rajput, a professor and the chairperson of NCTE. The discussion was moderated by V.R. Singhvi. It covers the meaning of human rights, the need for HRE in schools and teacher education programs, and the role of the teacher in propagating human rights at all levels of education. The programs have been shown extensively in orientation courses.
Human Rights and Indian Values was published and circulated by the NCTE to teacher education institutions throughout the country. The author is Justice Rama Jois, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Haryana and Punjab. The monograph is widely acclaimed by experts and reviewers alike. A Hindi version has been printed. Justice Rama Jois highlights laudable Indian values, drawing on the ancient scriptures as well as our Constitution.
Four workshops to orient key resource persons drawn from teacher education institutions have been organized with 30 to 40 participants each. More such orientation workshops are planned both at the regional and state levels. The workshops have been addressed by eminent jurists, judges, experts in political science, educators and scholars, including Justice R. N. Misra, former chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission; Justice Mallimath, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India; Sri Virender Dayal of the National Human Rights Commission; Shri Madhav Menon, vice-chancellor of the National Law School University, Bangalore; Justice Rama Jois; K.P. Saksena, a professor and the director of the Institute of World Congress of Human Rights Education; and other experts from UNESCO, New Delhi, and Common Wealth Human Rights Initiative. Journalists, activists and teachers also participated as resource persons. So far, over 100 teacher educators have been oriented through these workshops.
State-level workshops on human rights and national values are organized by NCTE regional committees using the module as well as video material. The module is to be published in book form in Hindi and English for distribution to teacher education institutions. It is also being translated and adapted into various Indian languages.