Universalization of Secondary Education and its Implications for Teacher Education at Secondary Level by Garima Tandon
B.SC., B.Ed., M.Ed.
Banaras Hindu University
Universalization of Secondary Education and its
Implications for Teacher Education at Secondary Level
Secondary education serves as a link between the elementary and
higher education, and plays a very important role in this respect. A child's future
can depend a lot on the type of education she/he receives at the secondary level.
Apart from grounding the roots of education of a child, secondary education can
be instrumental in shaping and directing the child to a bright future. This stage of
education serves to move on higher secondary stage as well as to provide generic
competencies that cut across various domains of knowledge as well as skills.
Providing secondary education to all, with a focus on quality education assumes
greater meaning today, when we consider the emerging challenges in our society.
For instance, rising levels of socioeconomic aspirations and also the democratic
consciousness particularly among marginalized sections of population such as the
dalits, tribals, OBCs, religious and linguistic minorities and girls seek space in
the secondary education system for greater access, participation and quality.
Given the high transition rate of about 85% from class VIII to IX
and the anticipated progress in Universal Elementary Education, which is now
2. widely acknowledged, that the time has arrived for taking proactive measures to
plan and provide for universal access to secondary education and senior
secondary education in a phased-wise manner.
Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)-
This scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective to
enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality. The
implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10. The objective of the scheme
are pointed as:
The scheme envisages achieving a gross enrolment ratio of 75% from
52.26% in 2005-06 for classes IX-X within 5 years of its implementation,
by providing a secondary school within reasonable distance of any
Improve the quality of education imparted at secondary level by making
all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms.
Remove gender, socio-economic and disability barriers.
Provide universal access to secondary level education
Enhance and universalize retention by 2020.
Funding- The Ministry of Human Resource Development directly provides
funds to the state governments. Each state government then release the funds to
the approved implementing agencies or institutions. During the XI Five Year
Plan the central government provided 75% of the total fund for each state, while
3. 25% was borne by the state as matching share. However, in the remote north-
eastern and Sikkim the matching share was waived to 10%.
Quality interventions provided under the scheme are:
a) Upgradation of primary and upper primary schools to secondary level
b) Appointment of additional teachers to reduce PTR to 30:1
c) Focus on Science, Math and English education
d) In-service training of teachers
e) Science laboratories
f) ICT enabled education
g) Curriculum reforms
h) Teaching learning reforms.
Equity interventions provided in the scheme are:
a) Special focus in micro planning
b) Preference to Ashram schools for upgradation
c) Preference to areas with concentration of SC/ST/Minority for opening of
d) Special enrolment drive for the weaker section
e) Disabled friendly classroom
f) More female teachers in schools
g) Separate toilet blocks for girls.
4. Special Provisions for Teachers under scheme are:
a) Quality education for all teachers
b) In-service teacher education programmes for quality improvement
c) More appointment of female teachers
d) Residential facility for teachers in remote areas.
Implications for Teacher Education at Secondary Level-
Implication of Universalization of Secondary Education Programme in
Teacher Education has been described below in terms of four guiding principles
1. Universal Access-
Access is to be envisaged in physical, social, cultural and economic terms – all
interwoven in a common concept. It is equally critical that the disability of a
child is not seen in medical terms alone. The moment a barrier-free physical
access is provided, this child’s disability disappears and she/he becomes as
capable as the rest of her/his peers. In this sense, the disability is a social construct
and the matter does not end by solving the problem at the physical level alone but
demands a change in the mindsets of teachers and the curriculum planners or
textbook writers too. Similarly, in the case of a dalit child, access is as much a
5. cultural question as it is one of a school being available in the neighbourhood.
There are poignant accounts of how alienating and humiliating school experience
can be for children of the deprived sections of society. This kind of alienation is
equally visible in gender discrimination as it operates as a ‘hidden curriculum’ all
the time as an extension of patriarchy embedded in society. In these
circumstances, children don’t just ‘drop out’ voluntarily, but either they are
‘pushed out’ or even ‘walk out’ in protest. It is only when the school is able to
create a new cultural ambience and a child friendly curriculum that universal
access would begin to mean more than just concrete, black boards or even
computers. Keeping this context in view, Teachers should be motivated and
sensitized towards these children. Teacher should also have knowledge of
constitutional amendments related to improvement in status of disabled and
minority children to understand the situation and coping strategies in better way.
2. Equality and Social Justice-
These two fundamental principles as enshrined in the Constitution imply equality
and social justice towards secondary education, inside secondary education and
through secondary education. It is only when the school curriculum empowers
the child adequately to initially understand, then question and finally deals with
that inequality and injustice, the child would be in a position to continue to seek
equality and social justice in her life after the school. This is not all. Teacher play
very crucial role in transfer of value to treat equally to the students. We must
draw attention to at least six dimensions of equality and social justice for which
the school system will have to strive for viz. (a) gender; (b) economic disparity;
6. (c) social i.e. SCs/STs; (d) Cultural (including the issues of religious and
linguistic diversity); (e) disability (both physical and mental), and (f) rural-urban.
All these dimensions need to be reflected with sensitivity in the curriculum such
that the self-esteem of each child is built up and teacher should be trained in such
a manner to transact it well to inculcate this value of equality among students.
“Gender Studies” and “Inclusion” paper have been introduced in B.Ed.
Curriculum to make teacher internees aware and sensitive towards these issues.
The issue has a structural dimension too. Almost 25% of the secondary schools
today are private unaided schools whose clientele comes only from the privileged
sections of society. This means that the children studying in such schools are
deprived of the experience of knowing children of different social classes and
diverse cultural backgrounds. It is inconceivable that such schools can inculcate
a sense of equality or social justice among their students or even build up an
appreciation of the composite culture and plural character of India. This anomaly
can be taken care of only by including the private unaided schools in a Common
School System, as recommended by the Education Commission (1964-66). There
is more absenteeism due unequal treatment of children on this basis by the
teachers. Therefore, there is need to sensitize teachers towards it. Now, it has been
ensured through inclusion of Community Work in B.Ed. Curriculum.
3. Relevance and Development-
No education today can be accepted as being relevant unless it (a) helps in
unfolding the full potential of the child; and (b) plays the role of linking the
development of the child with the society and its political, productive and socio-
cultural dimensions. We would like to list five domains in which the
developmental role of education can be envisaged: (a) building up citizenship for
a country that is striving to become a democratic, egalitarian and secular society;
7. (b) interdisciplinary approach to knowledge, concept formation (not just piling
up information) and its application in daily life and attributes such as critical
thought and creativity; (c) evolving values in a plural society that is, at the same
time, stratified and hierarchical; (d) generic competencies that cut across various
domains of knowledge as well as skills; and (e) skill formation in the context of
rapidly changing technology which demands formation of multiple skills, transfer
of learning and ability to continue to learn. A substantial proportion of parents
send their children to schools with expectation that education will enable their
children to face the ‘world of work’ with confidence and carve out a meaningful
livelihood for themselves. For this purpose, it is essential that learning emerges
from the child’s social ethos and her productive experience, and at the same time
ensures that the child will have access to global knowledge and challenges.
For this purpose various skill based subjects have been introduced in
B.Ed. Curriculum including Critical Understanding of ICT, Drama and Art in
Education, Yoga etc.
4. Structural and Curricular Aspects-
Curricular reforms cannot be delinked from structural reforms. There is a
consensus today throughout the country with respect to the 10+2 pattern of school
education, as recommended by the Education Commission (1964-66). The
Education Commission had also advocated that a minimum of 10 years of
common curriculum is required for building citizenship in a democracy and for
8. linking the ‘world of knowledge’ with the ‘world of work’. In this concept,
diversified courses will be introduced only at the +2 stage. These
recommendations related to curriculum could be implemented by all States/ UTs
only because the Central Government enabled a nation-wide switchover to the
10+2 pattern. Schools should be as per the norms of government to make teachers
aware regarding an ideal system. For aware regarding the same concern to
prospective teachers, “Classroom Management” paper has been introduced in
Conclusion- Hence, the four guiding principles, imply a paradigm shift
necessary for moving towards the goal of universalisation of secondary education
and this can be achieved only in the presence of willing implementers “The
Teachers”. This shift is expected to simultaneously impact at the level of access,
socio-cultural character, developmental objectives and structural-cum-curricular
provisions of secondary education - all at the same time and throughout the
nation. This can only be a reality when the ground level implementers of this
programme, i.e. Teachers will be educated and trained in the same manner by
including these prospects in teacher education curriculum. For speedy change, an
unambiguous commitment to a policy framework of Teacher Education at
Secondary level is necessary for translating this vision on the ground.