The Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) India is an initiative funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland (MINEDU) and is coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä. As the name implies, the network focuses on teaching and learning, teacher education, curriculum development, digital learning environments and educational design. It is actively seeking and creating cooperation opportunities between higher education institutions in India and Finland, which includes Jamk University of Applied Sciences in Finland and the Pandit Sundarlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education (PSSCIVE). The latter institute, which is in Bhopal in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, is a constituent part of India’s National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) with specific responsibility for VET curricular development, creating teaching and learning resources suitable for VET, and most importantly in the current context, VET teacher education.
Taking advantage of this opportunity to open new and exciting avenues of collaboration, two members of Jamk’s School of Professional Teacher Education travelled to India earlier this year to discuss the possibilities. The first round of discussion for the travelling pair was in the federal capital, Delhi, with the NCERT and its major stakeholders. The Indian government had previously identified through its New Education Policy 2020 review that improving VET, and specifically VET teacher education had become a national priority. The discussions that took place among the assembled luminaries focused on the need to develop in-service training for VET teachers nationally as the basis for improving VET overall. The visiting team outlined their proposal to meet this need beginning with a limited pilot, which could take place in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The proposal was very well received by all attending and generated a lot of excited discussion.
The travelling visitors then moved on to Bhopal in central India to visit the primary development organisation for VET in India, the Pandit Sundarlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education (PSSCIVE). In Bhopal the visitors met with key stakeholders from around the state and again outlined a collaborative proposal for addressing the needs of those VET teachers requiring upskilling. The meeting was hosted by PSSCIVE in its spacious, main auditorium. All seats were occupied, and avid attention was given to the presentations of both the hosts and the visitors. A good discussion followed with many tough questions being asked by the audience. This event was also attended by local media representatives and articles were published in the following day’s editions of the two Madhya Pradesh state daily newspapers.
The meeting was followed by visits to selected stakeholder schools and colleges in and around Bhopal where many more educators were introduced to the collaborative proposal, drawing even further interest.
Work is continuing to refine our ideas within the framework of the GINTL India network. More discussions and workshops are being planned for the immediate future. When further, concrete progress is achieved, I will write again.
Graham Burns, project manager
Jamk University of Applied Sciences
Photo 1: NCERT, India
Photo 2: PSSCIVE/Swadesh newspaper