What is the institutional status of SCERT?
The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) is an autonomous academic body functioning under the umbrella of the Department of General Education of the Government of Kerala. SCERT is concerned with the academic aspects of school education including formulation of curriculum, preparation of textbooks, teachers’ handbooks and teacher training. It advises the Government on policy matters relating to school education.
The structure and functioning of SCERT
For all academic purposes SCERT functions as an autonomous body. The Director under whose guidance and advice the programmes are carried out by the academic staff heads it. The State Government has formed two bodies to guide and monitor the functioning of SCERT. The Hon. Minister chairs the General Body of SCERT for Education. The General Body plans and gives directions for the functioning of SCERT. The Governing Council, with Secretary, General Education as Chairman and Director of Public Instruction as Vice- Chairman, attends .to all academic and administrative matters of SCERT. All programmes of SCERT are carried out with the approval of the Governing Body. SCERT works in tandem with the Directorate of Public Instruction to operational the policies of the state government in the sector of school education.
The Departments functioning within SCERT are Curriculum Textbook and Evaluation, Teacher Education and Extension, Educational Technology, Special Education Research Documentation and Dissemination, Primary Education, Pre-primary Education, Non-formal Education, Population Education, Educational Psychology, Program Evaluation, Vocational Education, National Talent SEARCH Examination.
What are SCERT’s programmes for teachers? / How can a teacher take part in these?
Every year SCERT conducts massive teacher training programmes as well as smaller programmes focusing on specialized areas or for particular subjects. The massive training programmes are mandatory for teachers as they are usually linked to curriculum and textbook revision process. The massive teacher training programmes are conducted during the vacation time immediately before new curriculum and textbooks are introduced. SCERT plans and implements the training programme UI to the district levels. The District Institutes of Education and Training take over the programmes and conduct the grassroots level training. Training programmes focusing on specific areas or subjects are of a limited scale. Usually every department / unit in SCERT conducts at least one such programme which trains 25-50 teachers. Participants are usually identified by the DIETs.
How is the school curriculum formulated? Can teachers take part in this process?
Curriculum preparation is an elaborate process involving educationalists, subject experts, SCERT staff, DIET staff and teachers. Usually it is done in a phased manner.Stage1 begins with the preparation of a general policy paper or approach paper. Beginning from this, approach papers on different subjects and different stages of education finalized. Curriculum frameworks for each class and each subject are then prepared. This would indicate the general nature of curriculum context and pedagogic principles to be followed. The final stage of curriculum preparation is the formulation of curriculum statements.
A number of schoolteachers are involved in all stages of curriculum preparation. From time to time to SCERT puts out notification in newspapers for contacting teachers who are interested in taking part in curriculum and textbook preparation list of bio data thus received is maintained in SCERT and suitable teacher selected from the list for curriculum preparation workshops.