Blended Learning Approach to Training School Counselors: A Case Study of COL-NCERT Collaborative Programme
There has been a great demand for Guidance and Counselling services in schools to facilitate better academic performance, adjustment and career development among students so as to provide quality education to students. In this direction the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an autonomous body under Govt.of India among other programmes/activities offered a nine months Post Graduate Diploma Course in Guidance through face-to-face mode for almost five decades for teachers and teacher educators drawn from different States of India. Later on this programme was extended by offering it through its four constituent units located at Mysore, Ajmer, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar to cater to the needs of the whole country. // In 2003, Teacher- Counsellor Model was designed and offered as a six month (face to face) International Diploma to teachers/teacher educators/administrators of India, and other South Asian and African countries. Participants from Maldives, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Kuwait, Bhutan and Fiji were the beneficiaries of this programme. Even this expansion was not enough to meet the growing demand for the trained guidance personnel in the region. In order to meet the training needs of the developing countries, NCERT in collaboration with COL, Vancouver, Canada designed and developed a one-year Distance Education Programme called International Diploma Course in Guidance and Counselling (IDGC) with special features like focus on needs of developing countries, opportunity for multicultural interactions and exposure to alternative strategies for assessment and counseling. The course inputs of earlier programmes were redesigned to be offered in a mixed mode with components of distance, online and face-to-face modes. This Blended learning approach adopted in IDGC to enable the in-service personnel avail of the opportunity without leaving their places of work and families for a long period of time. The main objective of the course is to train teachers, teacher-educators and untrained guidance personnel as counselors, teacher-counselors to guide and counsel students from schools and related settings. This paper studies the different aspects of the course and the extent to which the objectives of the course are met. A case study approach has been adopted for this purpose.