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Over the past two decades, India has made significant advances in school education in respect to overall literacy, access and enrolment in schools, and infrastructure. The two major accomplishments in the recent years is the political recognition of Universalization of Elementary education (UEE) as a legitimate demand and the state commitment towards UEE in the form of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education. This has led to a higher demand of qualified elementary school teachers. Over the past decade, access to education was one of the only topics that were being addressed by the Government of India. However, increasingly the shortcomings of what actually takes place inside a classroom has come to the forefront of the national debate on education. Questions are being raised on whether the current cohort of teachers is being trained properly to meet the ever-increasing demands of being educators. Most of the discourse about in-service teacher training taking place in India has shown severe inadequacy where teachers feel incompetent to conduct their classes as the trainings provided are insufficient or ineffective or irrelevant.

Policy literature and reports indicate the glaring disconnect between what teachers learn in the teacher training programs and what they eventually teach in the classrooms. This policy-implementation gap is particularly wide in rural schools’ opportunities and access to training sessions and materials is not as common as it is in metropolitan regions. Similar observations in operational sites for Model Districts Education Project have compelled us to ask the following broad questions:

1. What factors contribute to the existing gaps between teacher training and implementation of new concepts in the public primary schools of rural Assam and Andhra Pradesh?

2. What factors are making training supportive of enhanced teacher practices in public primary schools of rural Assam and Andhra Pradesh?

Based on perceptions of teachers, cluster resource coordinators, and other relevant educational functionaries in the offices of SSA, DIET and SCERT, this paper attempts to examine (1) role of teacher training in the existing pedagogic practices present in schools, (2) the relationship between the textbooks, and teacher training, and student learning in Assam and Andhra Pradesh, and (3) ways to revamp the existing in-service teacher training programs in Assam and Andhra Pradesh so as to better support the teaching learning processes at schools.


This document is a working paper published by Columbia Global Centers and is available at

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