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Continuous Professional Development of Teachers Through Open and Distance Learning: Perception and Concerns

Gaurav Singh

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Teacher Training, Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Open and Distance Learning (ODL)

PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2018. This article is published with open access at

Faculty development is the key thrust area at all levels of education. “A good teacher is teacher until he is a learner.” This famous saying is giving the impression that continuous development of knowledge, skills and personality are essential for a successful teacher. School of Education (SOE), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has made an effort to provide training for continuous professional development to Teachers of Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and developed six-months Certificate Programme for Professional Development of Primary Teachers (CPPDPT).
The present study was carried out on learners of CPPDPT Programme i.e. teachers of KVS regarding their readiness, perception about continuous professional development through open and distance learning (ODL), who are enrolled in CPPDPT.
A self made rating scale was administered on 198 teachers (i.e. participants in CPPDPT Programme) at five (05) programme study centers under Three (03) regions i.e. Regional Center Delhi-2, Regional Center, Noida and Regional Center, Ranchi. Interview of 18 Academic Counsellors (ACs) and 05 Programme Study Center In-charges (PICs) was also conducted. Quantitative as well as Qualitative data was collected and analyzed.
Results have indicated that there is positivity in perception towards continuous professional development but there are genuine concerns about operational issues through ODL mode.


“The true teacher is the learner.” This famous quote of Hubbard reflects the importance of learning for a teacher. Along with teaching in classroom a teacher has to update herself/himself about new things happening around. With changing educational scenario around the world, teachers have to prepare students to face new challenges. To prepare students, first teachers should develop themselves continuously. In professional terminology, such efforts are referred as Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Teachers are facing a paradigm shift not only in teaching learning philosophy and practices but also new interventions of technology are producing a challenging scenario. Many time the teachers who are for a long time in the system, could not feel comfortable with new technology mediated teaching learning. In recent past in India, due to new initiatives like Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), Right to Education Act (RTE-2009), emphasis on inclusive classroom setup and adaptation of suitable teaching learning strategies for inclusive classes, have emerged as challenges for teachers. To cop up with such challenges, teachers have to adopt some strategy for CPD.

Generally teachers are so over burdened with professional obligations and also with family and social responsibilities that they hardly manage exclusive time for any study or long term training/activity for their professional development. Though there are some short term training programs being organized every year by various organizations but to attend every year by everyone is not possible. Truly speaking, in such short and infrequent training programs, individuals need to gather at a central location/training center for lectures from few experts. It is not contributing much in professional development and causing a net loss for human resource development budget, costing more in travel and absenteeism from work. Due to which, ODL programmes are being suggested as an effective option.

Fortunately, new opportunities for improving professional development through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) by blending information and communication technologies (ICTs) are becoming increasingly available, affordable and popular. ODL has enormous potential to provide opportunities for upgrading knowledge and skills significantly. Open distance learning has made major contributions in teacher education. This is the area where distance education has been used extensively to provide pre-service teacher education, upgrading of academic qualification, in-service continuing professional development in subject content areas and instructional methods (Perraton, 2003; UNESCO, 2001; 2002). ODL can provide professional development opportunities for large numbers of people more quickly and comparatively at a lower cost than traditional ones. In 62th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in 2013, it was expected that “The open and Distance learning institutions could adopt to offer professional development programmes to the faculties of teacher education in different areas relating to curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.” (p. 40). In 12th Five year Plan Document of Planning Commission, Government of India (2011), it has been retreated that “Open and distance education methods could be deployed to augment capacity optimally.”

IGNOU, in India, has offered many on demand programmes for school teachers to various states and agencies in past like Diploma in Primary Education (DPE), Certificate in Guidance (CIG), Certificate in Primary Education (CPE), Certificate in Elementary Teaching Education (CETE), Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed.), etc. In 2003, on demand of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), IGNOU has also offered a Post-graduate Certificate in Professional Development of Teachers (PGCPDT) programme to cater to the specific needs of the post-graduate teachers of NVS.

Keeping this in mind, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the largest national open and distance learning university in India and Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangthan (KVS), largest chain of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) funded senior secondary schools in India, came up with an Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) to provide in-service professional development training to all primary teachers (PRTs) teaching in Kendriya Vidhyalayas across the country. Its result was development of Certificate Programme for Professional Development of Primary Teachers (CPPDPT) Programme.

Page(s) 63-86
ISSN Print : 2320-7655, Online : 2320-8805

The data analysis of quantitative data, interaction and semi structured interview with ACs and PICs have suggested that there was an acceptance of the concept of continuous professional development among teachers and they were also accepting ODL as an effective medium.

They were satisfied with the nature of content and format of workshop but there were apprehension about examination in such programme. Number of courses in the programme should be less as per their suggestion. This finding is tune with finding of Fozdar, et. al. (2007) who reported that in their study also, most of the teachers were satisfied with course materials and the Personal Contact Programme (PCP) conducted during the teacher training programme.

Major problems were due to poor communication and poor student support services from IGNOU i.e. on the part of RCs like delay in delivery of material, no organization of induction, almost negligible communication between RCs and PICs.

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