Fitness for Purpose, Fitness of Purpose: The Case of Teacher Education
Asia-Pacific Quality Network, Annual Conference Quality Assurance in Higher Education: Expectations and Achievements, Bangalore, India, 2- 4 March 2011, Keynote address: Fitness for Purpose, Fitness of Purpose: The Case of Teacher Education by Sir John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning // After the challenge of providing secondary education to the 400 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 who do not now receive it, expanding the supply of teachers and improving the quality of their training is the world’s biggest educational challenge. Some 10 million more teachers will be required in the coming decade and, since many of the 75 million teachers already in place have only the most rudimentary training, there is a massive task of in-service training as well. // The paper reviews two aspects of the provision of teacher education, making it fit for purpose as well as fit of purpose. First, how can we improve the quality of all forms of teacher education: pre-service and in-service; initial training and continuing professional development. The Toolkit for Quality Assurance in Teacher Education produced by NAAC and COL is having a positive impact in various jurisdictions. // Drawing on his recent book, Mega-Schools, Technology and Teachers: Achieving Education for All, the author will then ask whether current approaches to teacher education can be described as ‘fit of purpose’. Are they addressing teachers’ real needs and are they likely to promote the ultimate outcome of better learning by the children they teach? He argues that the focus of effort in teacher education should be switched from long largely theoretical pre-service programmes to shorter but regular in-service programmes that address the reality of the classroom. In this context ICTs can greatly enrich the distance learning methods required. Open educational resources, of which the large-scale programme of Teacher Education in sub-Saharan Africa, TESSA, is an excellent example, can make an important contribution.