If you want to work with young people and make a difference to the society; want to have a difference experience in job everyday; want to get into a profession that is fun and offers plenty of opportunities to be creative; and want to continuously upgrade your knowledge, then teaching is the best one for you. If you go by a famous saying, ‘Teaching is a profession that teaches all other professions’.
The education system in India, one of the largest in the world, is experiencing rapid growth in terms of enrolment. However, the biggest challenge that this expansion is facing is shortage of faculties and under-prepared faculty.
The President of India Pranab Mukherjee, on the eve of Teacher’s Day last year said that today India needs many more competent and willing teachers to dedicate themselves to improving the standard and quality of education being currently imparted. Teachers have a vital role to play in the process of upgrading the quality of education which is a direct consequence and outcome of their quality.
An encouraging thing about a career in teaching is that the government has started to focus on regular up-gradation programmes for teachers; in-service training and at-hand academic support systems have also been instituted across the country.
Teaching as a profession
Teaching is considered as one of the noblest professions in the history of civilized world. It offers professionals opportunities to work with students of different ages, from different backgrounds, in various teaching areas and in different locations. It also provides ongoing professional learning opportunities along with exciting career paths both through promotion to school leadership positions, such as principals and vice principals, and recognition at state and national level. It also offers flexible working arrangements and a well-balanced lifestyle.
Over the years the professions has gone through various changes and among some of the positive changes have been the increase in remuneration, and, the other has been the environment.
Prof. Malabika Sarkar,
Former Vice Chancellor Presidency University
There is huge demand for teachers. Earlier teachers were being selected for their past academic performance but today the focus is different. Now academic performance is not enough, overall personality is also important. The role of teaching is that you have young people to teach, to mentor and you prepare them for life
Teaching at K-12 level
For teaching at the school level Bachelor’s in Education (B.Ed) is a core requirement. To teach at the Primary level the minimum requirement is a graduate degree along with a Teacher’s Eligibility Test certificate. A B.Ed. degree helps candidates to start their career as primary school teachers and gradually move up.
A person looking for a career as a Secondary and Senior Secondary Teacher must possess a postgraduate degree in the subject plus a B.Ed. degree. Those teachers who have a B.Ed. degree after their graduation are called Trained Graduate Teachers.
The average remuneration for primary school teachers in government and private schools is somewhere around Rs. 8000-12,000, while that at the Secondary school level it is Rs. 12,000-18,000.
Teaching at college and university
The entry-level job at the college and university level is that of a lecturer or Assistant Professor. To become a college teacher a candidate requires a postgraduate degree in the relevant subject, with at least 55% marks. The candidates are also required to have cleared National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by UGC, CSIR or similar tests accredited by the University Grants Commission or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET), conducted by various state governments.
The average remuneration for teaching at the college and university level ranges from Rs. 15,000-Rs. 22,000.
Prof. M. Sekar, School of Mechanical Sciences, Karunya University while talking about the requirement of teachers in colleges and universities says, “These requirements are unique and may not be fulfilled by simply changing the curriculum. In addition the skill requirements are constantly changing or evolving, which are difficult to express”
Prof M. Sekar,
School of Mechanical Sciences Karunya University
In a country like India frequent changes in curriculum without supporting resources will destabilize the learning process. Good teachers are gauged by students based on their basic subject knowledge and expertise in specialized areas, hence one must focus on the basics and choose an emerging field
Excellent opportunities exist for aspiring teachers in the private sector. Qualified candidates can consider themselves for the posts of research fellows, teaching and research assistants, document writers, proof readers, jobs in scientific publishing houses etc., to name a few.
Popular teaching programmes
Duration in years
Bachelor’s degree in any discipline with minimum 50% marks
B. Ed - Open and Distance Learning (ODL)
For trained in-service teachers, candidates must have completed National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) recognized teacher education programme through face-to-face mode
Integrated B.Sc B.Ed/BA B.Ed
Candidates with minimum 50% marks in Senior Secondary/+2
Integrated B. Ed-M.Ed
Postgraduate degree in any discipline with minimum 55% marks
Bachelor’s degree in any discipline plus B.Ed
Why go for a career in teaching?
Teaching is not just a career but also one that offers an individual a lot of opportunity, as it is a platform to share one’s passion and expertise with others. It provides opportunity to an individual to play an active role in inspiring others because when a teacher shares his knowledge and attention with students, he will influence who and what they become – not only in the professional realm, but also personally.
Teachers also have the opportunity to make a significant difference in the world by touching the lives of their students. In this profession one gets the opportunity to make a fresh start every year as most likely there will be an entirely new group of students each year. Trends in education sector also change constantly, thus allowing continuous learning.
Demand for teachers
As per an MHRD report India is short of around 11 lakh teachers and over 5 lakh posts are vacant at the school level. The scenario at the higher education level is no different and as per a task force report of the University Grants Commission (UGC), there is a shortage of 3.8 lakh faculty members in the higher education system. According to a statement by former Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, 1,244 positions of professors are vacant in 39 Central Universities.
Prof. Sekar says, ”The demand for faculty in Engineering Colleges seems to be fluctuating at present. In recent times it has slowed due to increased availability of PG graduates for junior positions. However, this demand may vary according to the demography. Opportunity exists for faculty who have completed their degrees from premier institutes and also for those who have cleared competitive exams. Colleges and universities are looking for faculties who have the aptitude to carry out research. Demand exists for faculty with proven track records. A shift in focus from teaching towards research is visible.”
The UGC has advised all Central Universities to fill up teaching positions at the earliest. UGC has also taken several measures which include permitting the Universities to engage adjunct/guest faculty to meet the shortfall; allowing contractual appointments for faculty; revamping Academic Staff Colleges etc.
Last year the UGC asked the Vice-Chancellors/Directors of UGC-funded Central Universities, State Universities and Deemed to be Universities to fill all vacant positions before the start of the next academic session.
On bringing change in the curriculum for students who have an interest in teaching as career Prof. Sarkar said, “I think up to a particular level the curriculum should give the person option of either wanting to go into academic/teaching or some other profession and after a certain level a choice should be given to all students.”
Other career opportunities
Apart from teaching there are a host of career options for people as the skills teachers acquire are high in demand and they are also transferable to other occupations. Some of the other areas in teaching are like working for coaching centres or as personal tutors that are in great demand. With competitive entrance exams being the norm, these jobs are quite lucrative options.
Over past decade there has been a good demand for pre-school, or day-care teachers in metro cities. Working with babies, toddlers, or pre-schoolers is a good option for those who do not want a classroom teaching position and need a change from working with children in the older age groups.
A person willing to work in colleges and universities but do not want to get into teaching can also facilitate teacher training courses for a college or university and similarly join schools at different positions. In the age of Internet there is also scope for giving online tutorials and creating curriculum materials for education companies. Education consultancy also offers good pay packages, but teaching experience adds value to this job. Yet another option for qualified professionals would be to seek positions abroad. A large number of countries including the US, UK, Canada and Singapore offer teaching jobs to Indians. Another nearby destination is the Gulf.
When people asked him to celebrate his birthday, Bharat Ratna Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, former President of India and one of the greatest teachers the world has seen, said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day.” A fitting tribute to the profession, indeed.
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