Australian varsity, IGNOU to train Indian primary teachers


New Delhi : An Australian university Tuesday joined hands with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here to train elementary teachers in rural India and to help the country attain universal primary education.

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The teachers training programe will be conducted through IGNOU centres across the country, authorities of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) said.

Speaking on the programme launch here, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “This joint collaboration between IGNOU, the world’s biggest university, and QUT will help India attain its goal of universal primary education. It will transform primary school classrooms across the country, as the focus will shift from teaching to learning.”

QUT deputy vice chancellor Arun Sharma added: “We have developed the curricula for the diploma programme on teachers training. Initially we will start our work from Bihar.”

Sharma, who hails from Bihar, said while India will benefit from the programme, Australia too will learn new things that can be implemented back home.

IGNOU Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajsekharan Pillai said: “There is an urgent need for two million new teachers in the country. A big gap exists between the demand and supply for quality teachers. This collaboration would help the cause.”

K.R. Srivathsan, the pro-vice chancellor of IGNOU, said that the university will set up small hubs in rural India, from where primary school teachers can be trained on new skills. “Rural community centres will prove to be of great help for this.”

IGNOU Director of School Education M.L. Koul said the use of information and communication technology will be key to the success of this programme.

“Many of our elementary teachers are not trained. But to impart quality education, we need to upgrade their skill set. The new pedagogy methods will be taught through this programme,” he said.

Both universities also signed agreements for two more courses – the Dual Doctoral Programme for Research and Teaching Assistantships and an online programme in Master of Intellectual Property Law (MIPL).