SPARC Re-Imagining Teacher Education

Sponsor: Scheme for Promotion of Academic nd Research Collaboration (SPARC)

Teachers and their work have been the focus of attention globally especially in the current context of addressing issues related to equity and quality in education. One of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 identifies teachers as a vital element of the education system to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Improving the quality of education and learning outcomes will require more than getting teachers into the classroom: those teachers need to be qualified according to high-level professional standards and trained and supported throughout their career (International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030).

Educational policies and practices are influenced by political and professional contexts, this comparative research project will focus on four countries from the global South and North to understand how governance and curriculum of teacher education is shaped by similar professional discourses and international concerns in the current globalisation context and how they respond to individual countries needs and aspirations.

There are few studies that have explicitly examined initial teacher education so as to inform policy and practice and ones with a comparative framework are altogether missing in India. Given the rapid shifts in policy, studying teacher education in different contexts will provide insights. Russia, India and South Africa among the BRICS countries were chosen since they range from a former global superpower to the emerging economies of the world and represent the majority of the worlds education systems. The post-colonial exigencies of social cohesion and equity in the case of South Africa and India; and the recent turn to oligarchy in Russia, all offer a rich canvas to study teacher education in context. The UK will be a part of the study as it not only exemplifies a contrasting scenario from the global north but also as a former colonial power that has historically shaped education in India and South Africa.

The comparative research project will encompass initial teacher education policies and curriculum of the countries being studied. It will attempt to develop an account of the teacher's knowledge base and preparation for practice for meeting the goal of social justice. While the internal contexts and intricacies of history and polity are important to understand, the influence of global trends, pressures they create on national governments through large scale testing, quality standards, and frameworks and how these bisect and are filtered through social-political particularities, are of importance and will be an important focus of this comparative study.