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Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume VIII

Responsiveness of Teacher Education Curriculum Towards Human Rights Education in India


The global movement for the protection of human rights during the last five and half decades represent the culmination of the historical journey of humankind that commenced with the institutionalization of social and political order. The post-second world war era witnessed the predominance of concerns to promote universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all without distinction of any kind. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the first attempt at the international level to give a most authentic enumeration of basic human rights and freedoms, and so, has been rightly called "International Magna Carta of All Mankind". Its profound significance lies in giving an authentic expression of human rights as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations". Human rights are, therefore, universal values, based on dignity, freedom, equality and justice without any distinction of caste, creed, color, sex, religion or country. The increasing recognition of the universal right to learn about human rights is making human rights education a vital part of school and teacher education throughout the world.

Human rights are ingrained in the Indian Constitution and are as ancient as human civilization. All societies and cultures have in the past developed some conception of rights and principles that should be respected. Some of these rights and principles have been considered universal in nature. In particular, the concept of "vasudhaiba kutumbakam" contains the spirit of human rights in Indian civilization. The "Rig Veda" which is regarded as the oldest document declares that all human beings are equal and they are all brothers (and sisters). The "Atharva Veda' advocates equal rights of all human beings over natural resources. Ancient Indian literature emphasized a duty-based society, grounded on the important principle that 'one person's right is another person's duty'. During the pre-independence era, the struggle of people to acquire these rights began only at the turn of the 20th century with the national freedom movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi for complete self-governance and independence as birthright of the people (Swaraj). Thus, Indian ethos and social philosophy provided a sound moral foundation for the individual and group rights for a long time, despite their intermittent violation.
   "I learned from my illiterate but wise mother that all rights to be deserved and preserved came from duty well done. Thus the very right to live accrues to us when we do the duty of citizenship of the world. From this one fundamental statement, perhaps it is easy enough to define duties of man and woman and co-relate every right to some corresponding duty to be first performed ...."
- Mahatma Gandhi
Policy Pronouncements and Human Rights Education

Drawing from the Indian Constitution, human rights perspectives have dominated the formulation of educational policies. The report of various Indian Education Commissions and education policy statements have articulated the importance of right to education and education in human rights as part of the education reform and development effort in India. Therefore, it is imperative to have a sense of history relating to the human rights education discourse.
   Human rights education is reflected in the recommendations of major commissions and policy documents like the University Education Commission (Radhakrishnan Commission, 1949), Secondary Education Commission (Mudaliar Commission, 1952), Education Commission (Kothari Commission, 1964-1966), and National Policies on Education (NPE) (1968, 1986). The Ramamurthi Committee (1992) and the Chavan Committee (1999), were established to suggest reforms in the education system at different levels and for the integration of values education at all levels of school and teacher education. Stressing the importance of education as a powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation for the realization of national goals, the Education Commission (1964-1966) recommended that "[E]ducation should be developed so as to increase productivity, achieve social and national integration, accelerate the process of modernization and cultivate social, moral and spiritual values".
   The NPE (1968) expressed the conviction that a national reconstruction of education was "essential for economic and cultural development of the country, for national integration and for realizing the ideal of socialistic pattern of society".
   The NPE (1986) and the 1992 Plan of Action (POA), however, make a direct reference to the promotion of 'International Cooperation' and 'peaceful co-existence' as important objectives of education. They also lay emphasis on values education which 'has a profound positive content, based on our heritage, national goals and universal perceptions'. The appraisal reveals that 'the guiding principles of the UNESCO recommendation on the promotion of International Understanding, cooperation and peace and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms' have found a place in the legislative and educational policy documents of India. The NPE (1986) has remained as the guiding principles for formulating school curriculum and teacher education curriculum in the country.

Human Rights Education: Responsibility of the School and Teachers

Since education is an important 'freedom' as theorized by Amartya Sen, the current efforts should focus on making education as basic human right. It is universally accepted that education is the best source of social mobility, equality and empowerment both at the individual and collective levels. In this regard India is committed to provide "Education for All" keeping in mind the major goal of quality, relevance and excellence. The union/central government is preparing a "Free and Compulsory Education Bill" in order to make the 86th amendment to the Constitution that made primary education a fundamental right, statutorily enforceable. However, while attempting to provide the right to education we need to realize that at its core lies human rights education. Therefore education for peace and human rights should permeate all aspects of school life, with implication for learners, teachers and administrators. In this regard, schools and teachers are held accountable by the wider society, which operate in the legal framework of human rights commitments.
   "The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society" (Convention on the Rights of the Child) is not possible when children are not made responsible in an environment where they experience freedom. The agreement that education "shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace" and shall be directed to the "development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of United Nations", implies that "human rights education" and "peace education" should be included in the curriculum. (Batelaan and Gundara, 1993)
   The third World Congress of Human Rights (1990) urged that human rights education programs reach parents and policy makers. Hence, the horizon of human rights education as a concept may include (i) formal, (ii) non-formal, and (iii) informal education fields. Under the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), the United Nations urged and supported all member-states to make the knowledge about human rights available to everyone. It defines human rights education as "...training, dissemination and information efforts aimed at the building of a universal culture of human rights through the imparting of knowledge and skills and molding of attitudes which are directed towards:
  • The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • The full development of human personality and the sense of its dignity;
  • The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups;
  • The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free society and
  • The furtherance of the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace." (UN, 1999)
Human rights education should be part of everyone's education. It fosters the development of human values, rights and duties through a new design of curriculums, textbooks, training and orientation of teachers, decision-makers, etc. The school has an important role to play in helping children who will become citizens of the future to develop awareness of world issues in particular and peace and human rights in general.
   Since the adoption of the UN Charter (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), there has been no shortage of recommendation that teachers should be better prepared to develop human rights perspectives and skills among their students. Preparing teachers in all fields to teach for international understanding has been a prominent theme in the activities of UNESCO since its inception in 1946. (Montandon, 1983). It is clear that teachers play an important role in the organization of human rights education and therefore it is imperative to develop the knowledge levels of teachers. It is now widely accepted that the most effective way to improve the quality and effectiveness of education program for human rights is to reach teachers and teacher educators. It is worth mentioning the education commission observation (1964-1966) in revisualizing our orientation towards preparing teachers for human rights and peace education that "[N]o system of education can rise above the level of its teachers".
   With regard to expectations from teachers, the National Commission on Teachers I (1985) has indeed rightly remarked that "... [T]he new teacher we have in mind has to translate national goals [into] educational actions. He[/she] has to communicate to his[/her] pupils the importance of and the feeling for national integrity and unity; the need for a scientific attitude, a commitment to excellence in standards of work and action and right attitudes and values besides being proficient in the skills related to teaching." Can all teachers be able to teach human rights education, its essence, values with the same proficiency? What about teachers who are not even aware of the rights of children and their rights and duties in classroom or as a citizen? The simple answer is that teachers have to be given education on content as well as pedagogy, material preparation, and curriculum development because they have to be role models in the whole human rights education process.
   "Every teacher whatever the subject he teaches must ensure that in the teaching of his subject and dealing with his pupils fundamental values such as integrity and social responsibility are brought out. The teacher need not try to draw out the moral all the time... if he has given some thought to the values underlying the scope of his subjects, his work as a teacher, they will imperceptibly pass on into teaching and make an impact on the students."
- Education commission 1964-1966
   The teachers/teacher educators may develop a learning package that will help to transform learners in developing critical attitudes into active participation, conviction that human rights must be 'protected', 'respected' and 'promoted'. Unlike classroom instruction, the teaching of human rights does not involve the memorization of text or acquisition of skills, it is a matter of creating basic attitudes of tolerance and goodwill towards all human being. Therefore, transaction of human rights education broaden the role of teachers from transmitter of knowledge, to facilitator, implementer, community partner, action researcher, curriculum developer, etc.
   The teacher's role may be defined in broader perspectives as human rights education implementer and translator. Therefore, there is need for strengthening knowledge, skills and attitudes of teachers, and for creating human rights ethos and learning environment in schools. The triangulated effects of knowledge, skills and attitudinal building will not only develop the awareness among teachers but they will develop the comprehensive perspective of human rights education as part of their role and responsibilities.
   In this regard, education of teachers - preand in-service - has significant role for transforming a lay person to a practitioner and implementer of human rights values.

Synergetic Linkages between School Curriculum and Teacher Education Curriculum

There is a symbiotic relationship between school curriculum and teacher education curriculum. Therefore it is imperative to have a brief discussion on school curriculum from human rights education perspective. The appraisal of curriculum frameworks for school education - 1975, 1988 and 2000 and textbooks of NCERT (class III-X) reveal that human rights education has been integrated into the school curriculum in several ways - as formal, informal and hidden curriculums. (Panda, 2000; Panda, 2004)
   The NPE (1986) has conceptualized the basic spirit of human rights education in its suggestive core components: the history of India's freedom movement; the constitutional obligations; the content essential to nurture national identity; India's common cultural heritage; egalitarianism, democracy and secularism; equality of the sexes; protection of the environment; removal of social barriers; observance of the small family norm; and inculcation of scientific temper. The National Curriculum Frameworks of 1988 and 2000 reaffirm the ten core components identified in the NPE (1986). Further, Fundamental Duties as laid down in Article 51-A of the Indian Constitution also have been included in the core components.
   The basic approach towards curriculum organization for human rights education in schools is to integrate it into various subjects both at primary and secondary levels. It also requires multidisciplinary approach. The major components related to human values, human rights and duties are integrated in the subjects of social science, science, language and other subjects. The human rights education components have been included in the environmental studies (at primary level) and social sciences (at secondary level). Thus, its multidisciplinary approach has larger implication on preparation of teachers for human rights education.
   The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE, 2000) envisages the teacher education program as one of the most effective and comprehensive instrument of quality improvement in school education. "Perspectives of teacher education emerge from the objective of school education, which reflect concerns for fulfillment of individual's potential in harmony with collective human aspirations." Therefore, teachers and teacher educators, shall have to empower themselves with a thorough understanding of human rights education so that they can transmit the correct essence of human rights education. Teacher education curriculum (1978) very rightly emphasized the significance of correspondence between the school curriculum and the teacher education curriculum. In order to be a catalyst in the process of developing a citizen who is "productive, believing in social justice and national integration, and possessing values befitting a democratic, socialist and secular society, the teacher needs to become such a citizen through appropriate experiences."
   The UNESCO (1974) recommendation concerning "Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms" (Teacher preparation, Section VII) highlights its scope and the comprehensive range of tasks that teacher education institutions need to undertake to achieve the goals noted in the long title. Besides teaching pre-service teachers to commit themselves to the ethic of human rights and the aim of changing society toward more complete fulfillment of human rights goals, preparation programs would help future teachers learn to:
  • Appreciate the fundamental unity of humankind; to instill in others an appreciation of the riches of diverse cultures.
  • Acquire a basic interdisciplinary knowledge of world problems and problems of international cooperation, and how to work in solving them.
  • Take active part in devising international education programs, educational equipment and materials.
  • Comprise experiments in the use of active methods of education and techniques of evaluation.
  • Develop aptitudes and skill to continue their training; experience teamwork and interdisciplinary studies and knowledge of group dynamics.
   Pre-service teachers would also study different experiments in international education, especially those in other countries, and have opportunities for direct contact with foreign teachers. The Recommendation also addressed the need for in-service education for administrators and other school personnel. The most frequently noted shortcoming in efforts to advance human rights teaching in schools is the lack of well-qualified teachers. Therefore the basic challenges of teacher education institutions is to prepare the right kind of teachers who can translate the essence and values of human rights education, the rights perspective. The appraisal and microanalysis of curriculum frameworks of teacher education would provide a better understanding of how the human rights education perspective has been addressed in the preparation of teachers.

Teacher Education in India: An Overview

The existing teacher education system covers more than 2,200 primary teacher education institutions and secondary teacher education institutions, and 225 university departments of education. There is also a chain of centrally sponsored bio-modal teacher education institutions like District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) (500), Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) (87), Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs) (38) and State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) (32). There are around 35,000 teacher educators working in these institutions. The teaching force is about 5 million, among which nearly three million are employed at the elementary level. The percentage of trained teachers is assumed to be 90 percent, though in some of the regions, there is significant number of untrained teachers. To manage this vast system, the NPE (1986) stipulates that teacher education as a continuous process and its pre-service and in-service programs are inseparable.

Teacher Education Curriculum Frameworks

   Pre-service teacher education, which is the central core of teacher education, provides the teacher with initial capital of professional competencies. The type and level of the teacher education institutions depends on the structure of school education. Therefore, initial training of teachers (pre-service) is organized at three levels - pre-primary teacher education, primary teacher education and secondary teacher education.
   The pre-service course leading to a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree of a university is a general pattern of teacher education for this stage. The minimum qualification for this course is a bachelor degree in Arts, Science, Commerce, etc. which is also the baseline degree for higher courses in education and other areas of endeavor in the education sector. The primary teacher education program prepares teachers for primary schools having entry qualification as matriculation/senior secondary. However two years of primary teacher education became the national norm with the establishment of District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) and desired qualifications for admission to this course is senior secondary (Arts, Science and Commerce) level. Apart from this, some universities have also introduced degree courses leading to primary teacher education.
   During the last five decades of the post-independence period, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) issued curriculum frameworks for teacher education on three occasions in 1978, 1988 and 1998.
   NCTE for the first time brought out the teacher education curriculum in the year 1978 covering the entire spectrum of teacher education. From the human rights education perspective, the curriculum framework has emphasized the '[R]elevance of curriculum to the personal and social needs of children and schools, flexibility within the framework of acceptable national goals and values. Teacher education has to become relevant to the life, needs and aspirations of children and to the community to which they belong". Further it emphasized that "education must become an effective instrument of social change and, therefore the teacher has to be an agent for this transformation." This necessitates that the education imparted has relevance to the personal as well as social life and to the needs and aspirations of the people. The objectives of education reflected in the document are:
  1. To develop Gandhian values of education such as non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline, self-reliance, dignity of labor, etc.
  2. To perceive his[/her] role as an agent of social change in the community.
  3. To act as liaison between the school and the community, and employ suitable ways and means for integrating community life and resources with schoolwork.
  4. To not only use but also conserve environmental resources and preserve historical monuments and other cultural heritage.
  5. To possess warm and positive attitude towards growing children and their academic, socio-emotional and personal problems, and skills to guide and counsel them.
  6. To develop an understanding of the objectives of school education in the Indian context and awareness of the role of the school in achieving the goals of building up a democratic, secular and socialist society.
   The 1978 Curriculum Framework further emphasized the rationale for working with the community as major objective of teacher education. It emphasized that in order to reinforce theoretical learning, actual life experiences need to be provided to the teacher trainee so that he/she may verify and validate his/her theoretical knowledge.
   Reflecting on the role of future teacher as competent personnel, effective communicator, learning facilitator, community partner, the 1988 Curriculum Framework had suggested, "social, cultural and moral values orientation towards the unity and integration of our people in democracy, secularism, scientific temper, egalitarianism, cultural heritage, conservation of environment and civic responsibility".
   The 1988 Curricular Framework further recommended that, "[D]evelopment and nurturing of a common Indian identity should be an objective of teacher education curriculum itself and activities appropriate to this level of learners are to be provided for. Secondly, cognitive learning experiences relating to basic knowledge and understanding of the different core components and values could be provided to all teachers-in-training as part of educational theory and foundation courses. Thirdly, appropriate ways and means of organizing learning experiences of school children to realize the different core values could form an integral part of methodology training." The 1988 Curriculum Framework further articulated that, "the whole curriculum of teacher education should permeate a concern for values development. This would mean that an institutional ethos congenial to values development will be created by all responsible for running a teacher education institution - teachers, students and the community".
   The objectives of teacher preparation as suggested by 1988 Curriculum Framework are:
  • To develop in students qualities of democratic citizenship, tolerance, concern for others, cooperation, responsibility, commitment to social justice.
  • To promote environmental consciousness, secular outlook, scientific temper.
  • To organize and participate in programs of community service and development.
  • To engage in developmental activities in the community, extension activities and community service.
  • To understand social, cultural and moral values oriented towards the unity and integration of our people - democracy, secularism, scientific temper, egalitarianism, cultural heritage conservation of the environment, civic responsibility.
  • To develop aesthetic interests and appreciation - literary, cultural and artistic pursuits.
   The 1998 Curriculum Framework for Quality Teacher Education tries to reflect the realities of national life and strive to realize the interdisciplinary goal of education. "Teacher preparation must not lose sight of this basic thrust of constitutional commitment so as to empower teachers to inculcate the same among the students." Teachers of India are supposed to lead young generation by their own example and conduct by following the noble ideals, which inspired our national struggle for freedom. Therefore the objectives of teacher education relevant to human rights perspectives are:
  1. To promote capabilities for inculcating national values and goals enshrined in the Constitution of India.
  2. To sensitize teachers towards the promotion of social cohesion, international understanding and protection of human rights and child rights.
  3. To sensitize teachers and teacher educators about emerging issues such as environment, ecology, population, gender equality, etc.
  4. To empower teachers to cultivate rational thinking and scientific temper among students which will liberate them from the bondage of prejudice, bias, etc.
   The comparison of the three national curriculum frameworks revolves around the major objective of imparting constitutional values, which are the essence of human rights education. The 1998 Curriculum Framework highlights human rights education and child rights exclusively in its objectives.
   Further the curriculum frameworks intend to inculcate human rights values like cooperation, material sharing, living together, tolerance, etc. though these curriculum frameworks have made significant recommendation for preparing teachers as 'human rights teachers' it is equally important to elaborate the competency-based, commitment-oriented curricular framework proposed by Prof. R.H. Dave (NCTE, 1998). The proposed framework includes three inter-related and interactive dimensions - competency areas, commitment areas and performance areas.
   Dave's commitment elements subsume the value dimensions of peace and human rights education with the broader framework of preparing competent and better-performed teachers. Not only the objectives but also courses offered in teacher education curriculum have some direct bearing on human rights, fundamental duties and rights of the child.

Competency based commitment oriented curricular framework - (Dave, 1998)

Competency Areas (Ten)
· Contextual Competencies - to provide a wider view of the development of education in society and teachers role in it
· Conceptual competencies - the concepts of education and learning psychological, sociological and neuro-physiological aspects of education, etc.
· Curricular and content competencies - according to specific stage of education such as primary, upper primary and secondary
· Transactional Competencies- General, subject wise and stage wise
· Competencies in other Educational Activities - such as planning and organizing morning assembly, etc.
· Competencies related to Teaching-Learning Material-Classical TLM, New Educational Technology, and Local Resource, etc.
· Evaluation Competencies
· Management Competencies
· Competencies related to Parental Contact and Cooperation
· Competencies related to Community Contact and Cooperation
Commitment Areas (Five)
· Learners - love for t he learners, readiness to help learners concern for their all round development, etc.
· Society - awareness and concern about the impact of teachers work on the degree of advancement of families, community and the nation
· Profession - internal acceptance of the role and responsibility of the teachers' profession, no matter under what circumstances one entered in it
· Excellence - care and concern for doing everything in the classroom, in the school and in the community in the best possible manner - whatever you do, do-itwell. The do-it-well attitude
· Basic Human Values - Genuine practice of professional values, such as impartiality, objectivity intellectual honesty, national loyalty, etc. with consistency. The role model aspect
Performance Areas (Five)
· Performance in classroom including teaching and learning process, evaluation techniques and classroom management
· School level performance, including organization of morning assembly, celebration of national, social and cultural events and participation in school-level management
· Performance in Out-of-School Activities including such educational activities as field visits of learners, observation, tours, etc.
· Performance related to Parental Contact including such matters as enrolment and retention, regularity in attendance, discussion, progress reports, improving quality of achievement, etc.
· Performance related to community contact and cooperation including such issues as joint celebration of certain events by the community, eliciting community support in the development of the school, etc.

Content of Human Rights Education in Teacher Education Curriculums/Syllabuses

Each region of the world has its own way of defining human rights and interpreting human rights questions (Dinsdale, 1980; Donnelly, 1982; Yamane, 1983; Welch and Meltzer, 1984). Therefore different interpretations of human rights are questions about what constitute the cognitive and affective content of human rights that prospective teachers should learn. The 'social science approach' to human rights content draws its relationship between rights statements and major contemporary problems and international events. Teaching about human rights is closely associated with development, peace and specific topics of human rights violation. (UNESCO, 1970, 1982, 1983).
   In order to enable schools and individual teachers to meet the international obligations and commitments, teacher education should at least inform their students about these commitments and analyze them. Article 33 of the UNESCO recommendation of 1974 is very explicit in its recommendation for teacher education: 33(e) "Develop attitudes and skills such as a desire and ability to make educational innovations and to continue his or her training, experience in team work and in interdisciplinary studies, knowledge of group dynamics and the ability to create favorable opportunities and take advantage of them."
   The teacher education curriculum both at primary and secondary levels comprises two components: theory and practice teaching. The theory courses constitute the foundations (philosophical, sociological and psychological) of education, and methodology of teaching school subjects. The practical component comprises practice teaching, community participation, etc. Though the teacher education curriculum frameworks have been prepared by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) at the national level, each state and university have their autonomy to develop teacher education curriculum (TEC) at primary and secondary education respectively. But teacher education at primary level is decided by State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and State Directorate of Education and the secondary level teacher preparation curriculum is developed by each university. With this diversity, an attempt has been made to analyze the primary teacher education curriculum of 28 states and secondary teacher education curriculum of five universities from a human rights education perspective. Though this analysis is not very exhaustive, it provides a broader picture about the place of human rights education in teacher education curriculum.
   Table I presents the various indicators of human rights education integrated into the theory paper (Paper I) having different nomenclatures in the first year of the course. This reflects the revision of teacher education curriculums at different points of time on the basis of the recommendation of three curriculum frameworks of 1978, 1988 and 1998.
   The course on 'Emerging Indian Society' (Paper I, with different nomenclature in different states), develops an insight into the nature of Indian society, its variety and complexities and makes teacher education program relevant to the community. It helps in developing insight to deal with problem related to discrimination, oppression, exploitation, terrorism, violence, etc.
   It is further interesting to note that out of total number of 28 states of India only 13 states have integrated the major dimensions/indicators of human rights education in their curriculums.
   Further, the curriculum of the states differs from one another in terms of number of units, indicators, weight and marks allotted for each unit. In the state of Andhra Pradesh two units have been included relating to human rights education, i.e. Indian Society, constitutional obligation, fundamental duties, etc. The recently developed curriculum of Maharashtra has included concepts like nature of Indian society, acceptance of new conceptual thought - liberty, equality, fraternity, gender equality, human rights; diversity in Indian society; efforts to overcome inequality, etc. The primary teacher training curriculum of Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam provides detailed coverage to certain aspects of the Constitution. Education for developing values and morals has also been addressed by the curriculums in many states.
   As part of their theory paper (Paper I - Emerging Indian Society) few states like Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Nagaland have practical activities relating to human rights education for student-teachers (Table 2). These activities provide a chance for student-teachers to explore their theoretical knowledge base in the field.
   The related content and concern of human rights education have also been integrated in practical activities as part of theory paper (Paper I).

TABLE 1. Human Rights Education in Primar Primary Teacher eacher Education Curriculum
Indicators of HRENomenclature of the theory paper (paper I)Name of the states
Constitutional obligation: Education for All (EFA); socialistic and secular India; constitutional provision and new education policy; constitutional frame of reference for Indian education
• Principle and problems of elementary education in emerging India
• Curriculum for elementary teacher education
• Education in emerging India
• Teacher and education in emerging India
• Challenges in Indian education
• Conceptual bases of education
• Education in emerging India
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Himachal Pradesh
• Assam
• Andhra Pradesh
• Goa
• Delhi
• Tamil Nadu
• Karnataka
• Haryana
• Andhra Pradesh
Indian society and heritage; cultural heritage
• Emerging Indian society
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Education in emerging India
• Emerging Indian society and elementary education in India
• Arunachal Pradesh
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands
• Andhra Pradesh
• Mizoram
Human Rights/Peace/Child Rights: fundamental rights and duties
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Emerging Indian and elementary education in India
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Indian society and primary education
• Principles and problems of elementary education in emerging India
• Conceptual bases of education
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands
• Mizoram
• Goa
• Maharashtra
• Himachal Pradesh
• Karnataka
• Andhra Pradesh
Gender equality
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Indian society and primary education
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands
• Maharashtra
Education and social change; education as an agency of social change; teacher as a social agent
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Emerging Indian and elementary education in India
• Principles of education
• Education in emerging India
• Curriculum for Elementary Teacher Education
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands
• Mizoram
• Meghalaya
• Haryana
• Assam
Indian Society/International understanding; process of globalization; privatization; international understanding; modernization; urbanization; industrialization of education
• Curriculum for Elementary Teacher Education
• Social Science education
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Indian Society and Primary Education
• Education in emerging India
• Assam
• Tamil Nadu
• Andhra Pradesh
• Maharashtra
• Haryana
Role of Teacher/Family/State; promoting national integration
• Emerging Indian society
• Principles of education
• Teacher and education in emerging Indian society
• Arunachal Pradesh
• Meghalay
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Education and development
• Curriculum for elementary Teacher Education
• Principles of education
• Assam
• Meghalaya
Values education, moral education

TABLE 2. Practical Activities
• Interaction with 10-15 teachers, parents and community members and gathering of information on commitment of teachers towards society and his/ her profession. (Assam)
• Political and social consciousness among different sections of the population on human rights/child labor
• Status and acceptability of change in the society-perceptual study. (Andhra Pradesh)
• Study of influence of education on a village/group of people to change beliefs, customs, practices and social status.
• Case study on a teacher who is actually working as a change agent in the locality.
• Identify and conduct a case study on a school where there is strong relationship between community and the school. (Andaman and Nicobar Islands)
• Collection of information about literate and illiterate families in your locality and observe literate families serving as educational agencies for their wards. (Nagaland)
   Besides theory paper (Emerging Indian Society), the indicators/dimensions of human rights education have been dealt in the content-cum-methodology of teaching social studies/Environmental Education (Table 3). States like Assam, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland and Pondicherry have integrated theme and sub-themes on human rights, right to education, child rights, fundamental rights and duties. Hence, human rights education as core values has been integrated into teacher education curriculum by few states. Other states need to deliberate on this issue seriously and integrate it into the teacher education curriculum. All the dimensions of human rights education have not been addressed adequately by all teacher education curriculums and states.

TABLE 3. Human Rights Education in Content-cum-Methodology of T Teaching eaching Social Studies
Indicators/dimensions of HREName of the paperName of the state
Environmental studies:
• Family; society; citizen; environment;
• Social inequality, socio-economic problems, our school, neighborhood
• Social studies teaching
• Teaching of environmental studies
• Environmental studies
• Assam
• Nagaland
• Delhi
• Himachal Pradesh
Human Rights:
• Commitment to rights and responsibilities as citizens
• Right to education, child rights, fundamental rights, meaning and importance; consumers rights; right to protect public property, equal opportunities
• Social studies teaching
• Social studies
• Environmental studies
• Teaching of environmental studies
• Social science education
• Assam
• Mizoram
• Uttar Pradesh
• Nagaland
• Pondicherry

   The above finding is quite similar to that of Justice J.S. Verma Committee's report on fundamental duties (1999, MHRD). According to the analysis of teacher education curriculum by the Committee on Fundamental Duties of Citizens (Justice J.S. Verma Committee) (1999, MHRD), "The curriculum analysis of elementary teacher education of three sampled states indicate that education in fundamental duties in teacher education curriculum is more by default... teaching of these related content and concerns is fragmented and scattered in different papers and units so much so that the impact gets extremely diluted. Further, one finds that many of the concerns are either completely ignored or inadequately covered, especially Fundamental Duties". Similar result of analysis for secondary teacher education curriculum reveals the same.
   At the secondary level, the place of human rights education is much similar to that of primary teacher education. Many of the related content and concerns of human rights education find a place in the secondary teacher education syllabus - teacher and education in emerging Indian society, values education, teaching of social sciences, and science and population education. The course includes topics on value of democracy, socialism, secularism, constitutional obligation, etc. The course further includes 'protection of environment in global perspectives' and 'peace, cooperation and disarmament' and 'education for peace and international understanding'. As indicated earlier, the social science curriculum lays great stress on every major component of human rights education.
   The major question is how these concepts are being transacted in the classroom so as to translate these 'Knowledge' to 'Action'. It is evident from our experience and observation that in actual classroom teaching, most of the related content and concerns were treated in peripheral way. Very few concerns come up for direct and intensive discussions. Activities are mostly confined to observation of national festivals and days, cultural activities, community service-oriented activities. These are performed more as a ritual rather than inspire studentteachers and influence their attitudes and skills.

In-service Education and Training of Teachers (INSET)

As a landmark, the NPE (1986) placed in-service education as a continuum with pre-service. It recommended that teacher education is "a continuous process and its pre-service and in-service components are inseparable."
   There are in-service training courses, which offer professional degree equivalent to preservice courses. The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) provides B.Ed. degree, Diploma in Primary Education (DPE) to in-service teachers through distance mode. Analysis of the curriculum offered by IGNOU for in-service teacher education program clearly indicates that the core courses 'Education and Society' and 'Teacher and School' provide understanding of Indian society, cultural diversities, and economic and social disparities. In addition, IGNOU offers a certificate course on human rights education to teachers as well as general public to promote human rights education and to understand national values.
   As a sequel to NPE (1986) and its POA (1992), the mass teacher training programs, i.e., Program of Mass Orientation of School Teachers (PMOST) - 1986-1990 and Special Orientation Program for Primary Teachers (SOPT) - 1993-2003 were organized for the teachers to orient them on various emerging areas of concern. In its self-teaching package, modules on international understanding, peace, cooperation, values education and teaching of environmental studies were incorporated in order to strengthen their knowledge base on general concerns and enhance their skills in respective areas. Under the scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), in-service training is provided to teachers. In the training curriculum of many states (under SSA) values education, human rights education, etc. have been included.
   Though the in-service training programs are organized at national, state, district, block, and cluster levels, the scope varies from need-based training to orientation in different content areas. It is very evident from the appraisal of inservice training curriculum of DIETs that there is no specific program organized on human rights, peace, child rights, fundamental duties, etc. In some institutions, as part of regular inservice training program, single session is devoted for transacting factual information in these areas. However, NCERT and the Peace Center of Jamia Millia University are planning to introduce certificate course on peace education for in-service teachers at all levels.

Delineating strategies for teacher education from human rights and peace education perspectives

Following are some strategies to develop teacher education based on human rights and peace education perspectives:
  • As we have accepted a comprehensive and effective coverage and integration of human rights education at primary and secondary school curriculums (United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004), accordingly we need to enrich the teacher education program. It is not enough that the teachers are aware of human rights education, it will also require educating them to bring it to "PRACTICE", bring realization among the students about the need to abide by its dictum.
  • To realize the objective of human rights education in the right spirit at the school level, teachers of all levels and all subjects have to be oriented and trained in order to build a society of peaceful co-existence and observance of human rights values.
  • The nature of human rights education is such that it falls basically in both cognitive and non-cognitive domain. Therefore, it goes beyond prescribed curriculum. Therefore, too, in actual classroom situation the stress should not be on information and content rather on development of attitudes and values. Further it may be argued that incorporation of human rights education in the teacher education curriculum may be integrated in all its activities.
  • The effective way to institutionalize the concept of human rights education in teacher education is to incorporate it in the primary and secondary pre-service teacher education curriculums in all states. This should be supplemented by suitable cocurricular activities, which should aim at supplementing some of the shortcomings in the curricular approach especially in terms of attitude and values development.
  • In view of very little content on human rights education included in the primary and secondary teacher education syllabuses, what is needed is a vigorous advocacy with state educational agencies, teacher education institutions and university departments of education. It should be possible for the NCTE with the status of a statutory body along with Grants Commission and NCERT, to deliberate on this issue and to incorporate it in teacher education using the rights perspective.
  • There is need for teacher education to equip every school teacher with capabilities to inculcate among young children the constitutional values and the human rights values. In this context it may be pointed out that teacher education curriculums at the primary and secondary levels need a thorough review in order to incorporate human rights values.
  • It is suggested that an independent and comprehensive unit encompassing human rights education indicators, fundamental duties and peace should be incorporated in the primary and secondary teacher education syllabuses. This may be placed as part of a compulsory paper like Teacher and Education in the Emerging Indian Society (as it exists in few states and universities). This would ensure exposure of all the student-teachers to the concept of human rights education. Further the pedagogy of teacher education needs to be built on the essence of human rights education values.
  • Equally, co-curricular activities, project work, working with the community, observance of United Nations Day, observance of Human Rights Week, research on human rights violations in the community, may be integrated in all activities of teacher education institutions.
  • In-service training program maybe in the form of online courses and short-term courses organized by international agencies, national bodies, and NGOs should be on a continuous basis.
  • There is urgent need to prepare selflearning modules on human rights education with practical activities, lesson plans, and exemplar materials for teachers at all levels.

The promotion and protection of human rights in a plural society like India have their own context and specificity. In a complex country like India, societal violation of human rights and violation at all levels have necessitated the introduction of human rights education at all levels of school education and teacher education. The appreciation of human rights values should move beyond declarations and become a reality and way of life. Human rights education in India has crossed only preliminary milestones toward the journey of achieving its objectives. There are many more milestones to go by developing holistic plans of action - with clear human rights education objectives, functional and composite curriculum framework on human rights education for different stages of teacher education, training policy for teachers and teacher educators, self-learning package containing material on general awareness, skills development, transactional strategies, etc., and a sound research support for strengthening human rights education at all levels of education. This would go a long way in achieving the objectives of human rights education in India.


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