The National Policy of Education (1986) recommended the creation of State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in each state for decentralisation of functions for quality education, research and training. The SCERT proposes educational strategies, curricula, pedagogical schemes and evaluation methodologies to the state’s department of education. Though the SCERTs generally follow guidelines established by the NCERT, the states have great freedom in implementing the education system. Fortunately, the UT of J&K also established, though quite late, its SCERT after merging the two erstwhile State Institutes of Education of Jammu & Kashmir in September 2020.
The SCERT has the main function of providing academic resource support to the Education Department and Board of Assessment; in our case, the J&K Board of School Education. The SCERT has to support various programmes which include continuing education of teachers, development of appropriate material for teachers and students, and undertaking research studies on the problems related to school education in the state.
The SCERT has to make significant contribution in the area of school education in general and of teacher education in particular. It has to perform a pioneering role in the area of pre-service and in-service training of teachers and other stakeholders. Besides, it has to provide academic support to Department of Education in formulation of policies and planning procedures. Its other functions are development of curricular material of various types, viz textbooks, supplementary material, teachers’ hand books, manuals and modules, audio and visual material, etc.
The SCERT has the mission of enhancing the quality of school education by improving attitudes, increased application of knowledge and enhanced teaching skills of teachers. Besides, it has the vision of growing into a leading institute of resources, research, educational technology and skill development in the field of teacher education.
The following approaches have been adopted by various SCERTs in India so as to achieve their aims and objectives:
To function as a Research and Development institute at the state level by providing guidance, support and assistance to the State Education Department in its endeavour to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education and teacher education.
?To identify areas of difficulty in learning and teaching, and resolve them.
?To develop and cultivate tolerance and inclusiveness as the hallmark features of school education.
?To explore and develop new methods and techniques for effective teaching.
?To quickly respond to the changes in content, methodology and evaluation so as to empower teachers and other educational functionaries to enable them to effectively address the problems of students.
?Along with the professional growth of the human component, the development of quality teaching-learning material and undertake research are some of the important tasks conductive for attaining the objectives of quality education and a responsive educational system.
? To develop, publish and disseminate Teaching-Learning Materials in the form of Textbooks, Manuals, Question-Banks, Handouts, etc in print format and e-TLM so as to improve the quality of school education.
?To use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) up to the maximum level.
Though the SCERT, J&K is still in its infancy, it cannot afford to slacken its pace and fail to keep up with the demands and expectations for which it was established.
—The writer is Senior Academic Officer, SCERT, J&K. firstname.lastname@example.org