International Panel: Bridging Policy and Practice
A Focus on Teacher Preparation

Appendix D: Teacher Education Reform in India

Number of Teachers in Millions

Stage Male Female Total
Primary 1.23 0.64 1.87
Middle 0.77 0.44 1.21
Secondary 0.56 0.31 0.87
Higher Secondary 0.43 0.22 0.65
Total 2.99 1.61 4.60


Primary -- Grades 1 to 5
Middle -- Grades 6 to 8
Secondary -- Grades 9 and 10
Higher Secondary -- Grades 11 and 12

Number of Training Institutions and Enrollment

Stage No. of Institutions Enrollment
(in millions)
Primary 1270 0.11
Secondary 0868 0.11
Total 2118 0.22

Number of Trained and Untrained Teachers (In Millions)

Stage Trained Teachers Untrained Teachers
Primary 1.531 (88) 0.209 (12)
Middle 1.025 (88) 0.160 (12)
Secondary 0.812 (89) 0.100 (11)

Note: Figures in parentheses indicate percentages.

Drop-out Rate (Grades 1 to 8)

Year Boys Girls Total
1990-91 59.10 65.10 60.90
1999-00 51.96 58.00 54.53

Teacher-Pupil Ratio

Year/State Primary Middle Secondary / Higher Secondary
1980-81 1:38 1:33 1:27
1990-91 1:43 1:37 1:31
1999-00 1:43 1:38 1:32

Needs and Requirements of Practicing Mathematics Teachers in India

  1. Guidance with respect to content
    Mathematics curriculum has undergone drastic changes in recent years. Many schools do not get specialist teachers. Hence conceptual clarification is required.

  2. Guidance in Handling Challenging Problems
    Textbooks usually include a few challenging exercises. Many teachers avoid handling them. Guidance is needed to deal with such problems.

  3. Enhancement of Student's Initial Preparation
    Teachers dealing with disadvantaged students often experience that the initial preparation of students is inadequate. They need to be acquainted with appropriate remedial measures.

  4. Language of Mathematics
    Mathematical description makes use of technical terms, symbolic languages, etc. Equipping the teachers to explain them properly is necessary to facilitate learning by school children.

  5. Making Learning of Mathematics Interesting
    Mathematics is perceived as a dull and dry subject. It is a challenge to make it interesting and enjoyable. Guidance is needed to face the challenge.

  6. Enhancing Pupil Participation in the Classroom
    Abstract nature of mathematics usually hinders active participation of pupils in the classroom. It is necessary to bring out relevance to their daily lives to enhance their involvement. Teachers need guidance in this regard too.

What needs to be done?

  1. Revamping Pre-Service Courses
    The curriculum of pre-service courses needs to be modified to suit to present content and national interest.

  2. Strengthening Mathematics Teachers' Associations
    These associations exist at state as well as at national levels. Many of them are, however, inactive. They need to be strengthened so that they meet frequently and arrange discussion sessions among their members.

  3. Organization of Periodic In-Service Courses
    Presently, in-service courses are very few. Courses should be arranged at local level so that expenses are kept to a minimum. Help should be sought from voluntary organizations and teachers' association.

  4. Opportunities for life-long learning
    Media based packages need to be developed so that teachers can get inputs through distance mode. Open universities in India are trying this direction.

  5. International exchange and networking
    International exchanges need to be encouraged among teachers to enable them to learn from each other. Moreover, networking needs to be established for the exchange of ideas. Such an effort has been initiated by commonwealth countries.

  6. Special training of teachers dealing with

    1. Handicapped children
    2. Socio-economically deprived children
    3. Gifted children
    4. Slow learners

  7. Reward for Innovative Teachers
    Efforts of innovative mathematics teachers should be recognized. CASTME (Commonwealth Association of Science, Technology and Mathematics Educators) follows the practice of giving awards to schoolteachers, an activity that should be undertaken at various levels and by different organizations.

  8. Bridging Research and Practice
    In order to ensure that the findings of research studies are implemented in the classroom there is a need to undertake feasibility studies. Over-dependence of material and manpower resources should be avoided. Encouraging teachers to undertake action research would be a good strategy.

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