Teachers are the backbone to the growth and development of any nation. They serve as the building blocks that shape and develop one’s undeveloped skill and potential. September 5 is celebrated as Teachers’ Day every year in order to honour the teachers and the part they play in influencing the lives of their students. The day also commemorates Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a scholar and winner of the Bharat Ratna, who was born on this day in 1888.
Considering the significance of the role of teachers, it is important to empower them with necessary tools to ensure that they have the best skills and knowledge to impart to their students. On this Teachers Day, let us look at the top CSR initiatives aimed at upskilling the Teachers in India.
Sterlite Power – Training teachers in Digital Skills
EdIndia Foundation, the strategic CSR arm of Sterlite Power, has announced its partnership with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (UNESCO MGIEP), to train more than 10,000 teachers in India.
This partnership will enable government teachers across India to leverage digital tools and integrate socio-emotional context while teaching. While the training on Digital Learning will help build competence in using technology, to enhance choice and engagement, the course on SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) will equip teachers with a rich pool of hands-on learning activities to enhance students’ performance.
The objective of this training intervention is to build a pool of certified master trainers and key academic resources out of state teachers’ cadre. The training intervention shall be in the form of a self-paced interactive certificate module developed by the UNESCO MGIEP.
CyberShikshaa for Educators program by Microsoft
As part of its ongoing commitment to create a robust cybersecurity ecosystem in the country, Microsoft India has announced the launch of the CyberShikshaa for Educators initiative in collaboration with ICT Academy. In its first year, the program will skill faculty and higher education students from rural engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Assam, Uttarakhand, Delhi NCR and Rajasthan.
In its first leg, the program will empower 400 faculty members across 100 rural institutions in India with industry relevant skills in cybersecurity, equipping them with the tools to train students. Through the trained faculty and ICT facilitators, the initiative will further train 6000 students from rural engineering colleges to prepare them for a career in cybersecurity. In addition, Microsoft and ICT Academy will work with a strategic consortium of partners to facilitate job placement opportunities and internships for over 1500 students. The program has been designed to ensure higher participation of women educators and women graduating students from rural geographies, to create an equitable and diverse cybersecurity talent pool.
To address the gender divide and empower underserved women for a career in cybersecurity, Microsoft launched the country’s first cybersecurity skilling program, CyberShikshaa, in collaboration with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) in 2018. Continuing the path to democratize access to cyber security skilling for young women from semi-urban and rural geographies, Microsoft expanded CyberShikshaa to collaborate with TATA Strive in 2021. Through these partnerships, more than 1100 young women have been enabled with hands-on experience and technical training in cybersecurity with mentorship from industry experts. Additionally, over 600 women have been supported for job placements with leading companies.
Project Tejas by British Council
Tejas, a teacher training project delivered by the British Council in association with Tata Trusts and the Maharashtra State Government, has upskilled 51,000 teachers across 36 districts in Maharashtra, who in turn, teach 1.4 million young students in the state schools.
The project set out to benefit primary school teachers and students across government schools in Maharashtra through improved English language proficiency. Tejas was run through an engaging, replicable model wherein teachers could not only manage their own development but also sustain it for larger peer to peer groups, in and beyond the State.
Tejas is a significant project for the State of Maharashtra as it represents a transition from a traditional model of teacher training to a more sustainable, internally supported approach that promotes holistic professional development through communities of practice. The project has helped build the State’s institutional capacity to support and implement large-scale, long-term in-service teacher training programmes which do not rely solely on cascade training as the medium of delivery.
The five-year project (2016-21) showed resilience to the pandemic and met its timeline by embracing the virtual platform and holding over 3,500 online meetings in the past year since the first lockdown.
The project started as a pilot in nine districts of Maharashtra in 2016 and later was scaled up in 27 other districts; these include Ahmednagar, Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Mumbai, Nanded, Osmanabad, Palghar, Parbhani, Pune, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Thane, Wardha and Washi.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21, the project continued impacting stakeholders, with training shifting to synchronous and asynchronous online inputs so that stakeholders developed their online facilitation skills and encouraged teachers to attend virtual TAGs. Government records show that 3507 online TAG meetings were attended by over 41,000 teachers across the state in 2020-21.
The end-of-project event was held on 18 March 2021, with speeches from Ms Varsha Gaikwad, the Honourable Minister of School Education, Government of Maharashtra, and Ms Amrita Patwardhan, Head, Education from Tata Trusts, in the presence of over 5100 stakeholders.