Mimicry Won’t Work. DIETS Must Innovate

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Mohammad Iqbal Bhat

In a view to strengthen teacher education, the National Policy on Education (NPE 1986) and Programme of action (POA 1992) envisaged a District level Institute in the shape of District Institute of Education and Training (DIET).
Prior to the adoption of NPE, National level and State level Institutions like NCERT, NUPEA and SCERT provided support to the elementary Teacher Education particularly in the area of pre-service teacher education. As per the guidelines of NPE, a Centrally sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganization of Teacher Education was approved in October 1987, thereby a third-district-level-tier , that is, District Institute of Education and Trainings (henceforth referred as DIETs) were formed throughout the country in all districts,
DIETs have an essential role to perform but because of their non-performance these have been ridiculed as “DIETs the dumping sites” . DIETs failed to regionalise the national curriculum. It was the primary function of the DIETs to formulise the modules and provide assistance to the teachers to liquidate the curriculum. These were to carry out the action research and work for resolution of the immediate problems being faced by the teachers in the classrooms. But, as on date, DIETs failed to contribute in every aspect.
The foremost regret being expressed by the teachers is that there is nothing new in these trainings and the training programmes are taunted as,” old wine in a new bottle”. DIET has been given an important assignment to innovate and foster the modern techniques of teaching among teachers and aid in designing the lesson plans that are learner friendly and easy to grasp and comprehend. The new learning-material presented in each class in the traditional teaching style also challenges students as they may not be able to process the amount of information and therefore resort to “following the recipe”. The nature of verification and production style procedures mean that students aim for a right answer and miss out on valuable opportunities to reflect on the implementation and process of the subject matter. Here, DIETs must come to the rescue of the teacher so that the actual teaching goal is achieved.
DIETS are research institutes and their contribution in teaching methodology, enhanced pedagogy and research in allied aspects can vitalize the indigenous education system but unfortunately, the desired contribution is not being made by these prestigious institutions. Most of the DIETs in the valley lack basic infrastructural facilities like research laboratories, well equipped pedagogy workrooms and other modern facilities. The human resource in these institutions is not aptly utilised. Moreover, it is observed that the accomplished and promising human resource is not deployed at these institutions, which invites criticism from the masses and forced Directorate to change its strategy in posting of staff in DIETs and SIEs. Consequently, it has been decided by the DSEK to post the human resources in these premier institutions considering merit and distinguished attributes in the academic filed.
DIETs must be equipped with modern psychological laboratories where experiments on various significant issues concerning teaching learning process can be performed. Till date, we fail to develop or put in use reliable intelligence tests, inventories for measuring the academic performance and growth of the children in our schools. Thereby, we fail to shape the learning modules according to the interests and aptitude of the children.
DIETs must equip teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and skills they require to perform their duties effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community. The role of DIETs in Kashmir valley demands extra contribution, extra endeavours in order to explore and unfold the potentialities among the children and sharpen the talent of the children in our schools. Last but not the least; the state administration must do way with Care taker/ In charge system of appointment of Principals for these prestigious institutions.

—Mohammed Iqbal Bhat, Research Officer at DIET Kupwara