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BESTHBCSEOct 2013 modified for MHRD Jul2014

BEST Detailed Project Report


Draft by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education
(with inputs from DST NCSTC, Eklavya and Vigyan Prasar)
Modified Proposal
for
National Mission on Teacher Professional Development
submitted to MHRD, July 2014
1.

Introduction

The Government has the responsibility of ensuring quality education for all students in the
country, high quality of teachers at all levels of education, monitoring of the educational
status and needs, and anticipating and providing for them. India is in an enviable position of
having a large population of potentially creative and productive young people wanting to
contribute to S&T. Several studies of students' ideas about science and scientists has revealed
that Indian students have a positive image of science.
Over the years several initiatives have been made for the attraction of talent to study of
science. However, adequate attention has not been paid to improve the quality science
education in the country. No matter how suitable the curricular materials are, the teacher plays
a crucial in enhancing the quality of science learning among students in the primary,
secondary and tertiary classrooms. Steps are urgently needed to strengthen the teachinglearning of science at all levels in the country. Given that almost 92% of those in the school
going age do not go to college, the most effective way to improve learning in science and
mathematics is by addressing school teachers through appropriate schemes. Yet, in spite of
initiating several programmes for professional development of teachers of Science and
Mathematics, the quality of science education has been far below the desired levels. Most
programmes have addressed far too few of the over 6.5 million school teachers.
Building Educators for Science Teaching, BEST, is one of the most expansive Schemes yet
envisaged to address a significant fraction of school science and mathematics teachers
through suitable incentives and collaborative organisational mechanisms. Through the
processes initiated as part of the implementation, the BEST Scheme aims to create a climate
for sustained professional development of science and mathematics teachers. These include
building communities of teachers, pedagogy experts and science and mathematics content
experts to encourage and support committed teachers in their effective teaching-learning
practices.
Organisation of this report
Section 1: Building the case for Teacher Professional Development
The following section begins with a brief examination of the major lacunae in science
education and the important considerations for effective science education. Subsection 1.3
gives a summary of the past schemes for recognition of science teachers. Subsection 1.4
highlights the importance of hands-on activities, demonstrations, experiments and
investigative projects in science teaching-learning. In this context the subsection also
summarises the efforts of various Government organisations and people science movements

(PSMs) to build a culture of projects and innovation among school students and teachers.
Section 1.5 argues for building collaborative teacher groups across educational levels and
suggests models to build such collaborations.
Section 2: Goals of the Scheme
Section 3: Gathering inputs for the scheme, building collaborations
The section summarises the steps taken the workshops and consultative meetings held to
gather inputs on the expectations of teacher communities and educational authorities from the
Scheme as well as the organisations that will support the implementation of the Scheme in
terms of identifying and building collaborative communities of educators.
Section 4: Structures and processes for planning, implementing and monitoring
Section 4 details the processes of the BEST Scheme in terms of the mechanisms for
implementation of the Scheme through local, zonal and national collaborations between
educational authorities, educational institutions at all levels and S&T institutions. The section
includes organisations envisaged to take on the responsibilities of implementation of the
Scheme, and groups formed by members from partner institutions that will support these
organisations. Criteria for such organisations and groups their terms of reference are also
listed. The last sub-section (4.6) details the criteria and processes for identification of
educators.
Section 5: Work flows and time schedules
Section 6: The budget
1.1 State of science teaching in schools: addressing the lacunae
Science education at the school level in the country faces several problems. It is largely
textbook dependent, and teachers often utilize rote learning and traditional teaching methods,
which emphasize chalk and talk. Activity based learning or inquiry based methods are
absent in classrooms as teachers are confused how to implement these pedagogies or are not
confident that they can implement them in their classrooms. The pre-service and in-service
training of teachers does not equip them with the skills required, and teachers are unable to
create learning situations, or raise investigative questions. Thus there is a large gap between
the curricular pronouncements and the ground realities. One finds that there is absolutely no
experimentation done by students, and even activities tend to be read out. In rare instances
demonstrations replace experimentation, but these are also done in a prescriptive manner
without student participation or discussion. This results in a situation where both the theory
and experimentation integral to science suffer. There is no encouragement of discussion or
argumentation or student talk that may encourage theoretical development nor is there any
opportunity to develop experimental skills such as observation, designing of experiences or
drawing conclusions.
Another problem of science education in schools is that it is not contextualized and the role of
the home and the knowledge students have already gained is not used as a resource. The
nature of science presented is that of facts and information to be transmitted. The authority of
the textbook is unchallenged and teachers themselves are used to instructions given to them in

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a top-down manner. This results in dis-empowerment of both students and teachers.


Addressing the problems requires both an understanding of the roots of the problems and
provision of a support system to teachers to help them empower themselves and also their
students.
1.2 Dimensions of science teacher expertise
1.2.1 Understanding science content
There may still be a dwindling number of teachers in state board schools who have not
studied Science beyond class X, but are expected to teach all subjects upto class VIII
including Science. However, even those teachers who have are graduates in Science subjects
do not have any depth of understanding because of the common practice of studying just for
the examinations. This means that all teachers need considerable support in order to develop a
basic understanding of the concepts that they are supposed to be teaching. Without a firm
grasp of the content, they are often found to hold alternate conceptions and thus need to learn
not just new techniques in pedagogy but also content knowledge.
However, the teachers are aware of their own short-comings and are always thrilled when
they get an opportunity to up-date their knowledge and skills. It is important to mention skills
here because of the off-hand attitude to doing practicals even in colleges in a cookbook
mode. Most teachers would have never done the experiments mentioned in text-books and
hence are wary of trying them out without some guidance. Hence, a comprehensive training
which looks into content enrichment, skill enrichment and pedagogy needs to be worked out
for the majority of the teachers.
1.2.2 Understanding the nature of science (NOS)
Science is generally presented in our text-books as a collection of indisputable facts.
Generally there is also some discussion on the method of science which lists steps like
observation, generalization, etc., but this is never actually linked to the content being taught.
Further, the nature of science which comes through in this is a nave positivist approach which
is then at odds with the general discussions on scientific issues in society. Another problem is
that since we rarely get to go into the history of development of concepts, a likely opening to
understanding the nature of Science is not availed of. Thus, we need to overtly bring out the
nature, history and philosophy of Science during trainings, and get the teachers to figure out
how they can cover these aspects in the class-room. This also makes these issues lively,
interesting and gives a glimpse of real life science. This is contrast with the distilled theory of
the textbooks.
1.2.3

Experiences in hands-on science

Eklavya has had decades of experience with teachers getting their students to do experiments
in the classroom. The HSTP (Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme) has shown that it is
possible for experiments relevant to the topics covered in middle-school science to be carried
out in class-rooms with easily available materials. Conducting these experiments and
pondering on the observations is a step towards appreciating how to get to theories from
observations and this leads them towards the nature of Science.

But, the teachers have to try out all the experiments themselves during trainings and develop a
new set of skills on how to make arrangements for the entire class to carry these out. They
also have to get an idea of the variations that arise when two dozen students take readings,
how to judge experimental errors and how to deal with all of these. After gaining some
expertise, it is likely that they themselves will be able to design experiments that make use of
locally available materials, or come up with other innovations.
1.2.4

Teaching to learn (Reflective practice)

Reflection on their own practices among teachers is facilitated by providing platforms for
teachers to share their work with other teachers and knowledgeable science educators. The
skills of effective reflection are also built by encouraging teachers to provide critical feedback
to their peers on their work. The BEST Portal, Local Teachers Seminars and Conferences will
provide the varied opportunities for teachers to make their practices explicit, document them,
share them with their peers and give and receive critical feedback. The teacher groups and the
association of mentors and teachers also create the needed non-threatening atmosphere to
encourage reflective teaching practices.
1.2.5 Teachers' beliefs, practices and professional development
Research in teacher professional development shows that beliefs and attitudes of teachers
change only when teachers interact with their peers, share and discuss their experiences.
Teachers internalise a new vision of education, shared by the community of teachers to which
they belong the learning community of practitioners. When they see this shared vision as a
real possibility that can be achieved in their own classrooms, then the teachers evolve. Thus,
they evolve through participation in their teaching communities, sharing experiences and
practices that are in accordance with their shared new vision. Teacher learning is facilitated
when teachers articulate beliefs and their situated knowledge (about content, teaching and
students) in a community that supports negotiation and building on beliefs and knowledge
while also provides challenges for reflection. According to NCFTE, 2010,
There is no opportunity for teachers to examine their own biases and beliefs and reflect on
their own experiences as part of classroom discourse and enquiry. ...Apart from conceptual
and pedagogical aspects, existing programmes need to develop certain attitudes, dispositions,
habits and interests in a teacher. (page 12)
The BEST Scheme proposes to initiate processes that help in formation and sustenance
of communities of teachers who follow exemplary teaching practices and contribute to
the new vision of the development of professional competence among teachers. This
would require not only provision of motivational incentives to teachers beyond professional
satisfaction, but also suitable infrastructure and resources to support teachers communities. It
is through these communities of teacher practitioners that exemplary teaching practices
will be generated, sustained and spread. The Scheme conceptualises such communities
and plans its implementation.
1.2.6 Elementary school science teachers: their role in education and needs
Elementary school is important for two reasons. One is that basic skills in all subjects have to
be developed in the children at this stage. And the other is that, given current drop out rates,

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many children do not study beyond this level. The students learning at this level needs to be
planned in a holistic manner. Besides, whatever is planned in the general curriculum, the
elementary school teacher has to contextualize the material for the students because the
children need to start learning from their concrete surroundings. Hence, it is important that
teachers be trained to the required level of autonomy and that they be given the freedom to
select the materials and the best order in which to cover the concepts with their students.
1.2.7 Building a professional community: Learning from peers
The professional development of teachers needs much improvement. There are no
organizations which bring teachers together for professional communication, and there is no
sense of empowerment which comes from being part of a group. We learn best along with a
peer group at all stages and so it is important that we build networks of teachers who can learn
from each others experiences and support capacity building at all levels.
1.2.8

Self esteem

The present system in which the teacher often appears to be lower in a professional hierarchy
is obviously not conducive to developing self esteem. The respect that used to be earlier
accorded to teachers is their due for the important work assigned to them. However, in the
present context, taking away their autonomy and bringing in management reporting to
monitor their work often ends up demotivating the good teachers. Building networks, which
can lobby for conditions necessary for successful teaching-learning and introducing peer
evaluations and collaborative working would go a long way in developing their esteem and
improving the quality of work that they do.
1.3

Schemes for recognition of science teachers

There are several awards for teachers at the National and State levels. Some of these are
prestigious, high value, and nationwide. However, these are for hundreds of teachers. Others
are restricted to the jurisdiction of a few States. None of these awards has been conceptualised
on a scale as large as the BEST Scheme, nor with the goal to sustain professional networks of
science and mathematics teachers. The brief outline of the MHRD Framework programmes,
linked institutions and some awards given in Annexure-A reveals the programmatic and
institutional links that can be used to reach out to potential teachers for the BEST Scheme.
Information regarding the NTSC of the NCSTC and some important awards is also included
in Annexure-A.
1.4 Towards activities and experiments in school science
There is a lot of diversity among Indian students in terms of various factors, ranging from
socio-economic backgrounds including languages spoken, class, regional, religious and caste
or tribal affiliations to individual physical, mental and behavioural differences. However it is
possible that some classrooms are quite homogeneous while others are not. The diversity in
Indian classrooms has increased with the focus on universalisation of elementary education,
whereby previously marginalised groups have gained more access to schooling. In this
scenario there is a need to use a variety of pedagogical methods in school to meet the diverse
needs of diverse students. Knowledge is constructed when a learner interacts with physical

and social environment. Science is one way of looking at the world and the content that is
taught in the science class is interpreted by pupils in accordance to their prior views. Hence
the teaching of science has to take into account the contexts of the students, their backgrounds
and experiences so that science learning can be meaningful, holistic and relevant.
If the traditional methods such as the usual chalk and talk method in the classrooms are
supplemented with relevant activities, projects, demonstrations, discussions and experiments,
especially in science classes, students are more likely to be actively engaged in the teachinglearning process. It is widely accepted that becoming educated is not simply a matter of
accumulating information; it involves the gradual induction of students into new perspectives
on the world and the development of new problem-solving skills and new ways of using
language for representing knowledge and making sense of experience.
1.4.1

Demonstrations for meaningful science learning

Demonstrations in science classrooms can and should be used to supplement the traditional
methods of teaching. When used appropriately as a pedagogic method they can be effective in
increasing students' participation in class. The teacher can both prime the students to discuss
the demonstration that will follow and can also discuss the observations once it is completed.
One such teaching strategy is termed 'Predict, Observe and Explain' (POE), developed by
White and Gunstone (1992). Before the demonstration students are asked to make some
predictions about a phenomenon and these are followed by careful observation and
explanation of the same. This method helps the teacher to understand the students' existing
theories or ideas, and helps the student to think critically and explain the results which may be
different from their predictions. Thus demonstrations can be modified to exploit the students'
arguments and serve as an important pedagogical tool.
Demonstrations are de-emphasised in activity based learning however they are essential as
there maybe many experiments/activities that students cannot perform on their own, owing to
factors such as the involvement of expensive resources, or these being too dangerous or
complex for students. Also demonstrations can be used to help students improve their skills of
observation, recording and analysis. In his essay, Katz (2002) says 'an effective demonstration
should promote good observation skills, stimulate thought, arouse curiosity, present aspects of
complex concepts on a concrete level, and, most important, be the basis for class discussion'.
1.4.2

Activities, experiments and investigatory projects

Learning science can be an outcome of different kinds of hands-on activities. Some may be
simple exploratory activities or surveys, and one learns a wide variety of skills from these
activities, such as collecting, recording, analysing and documenting data. Experiments and
investigatory projects are necessary in two complementary ways. Firstly even when
experiments are done in a lackadaisical manner wherein the outcomes are well-known, they
are still useful in learning a particular set of skills handling equipment, learning to process
the data and present it (draw graphs, diagrams, etc.). Secondly, investigatory projects give
students a chance to try out the method of science in order to find the answers to questions
that puzzle them. These projects have the additional advantage of the possibility of breaching
disciplinary boundaries.

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1.4.3

Classroom dialogues to support science learning

Classroom interaction can take the form of rote, recitation, instruction, discussion and
dialogue. Research has indicated that Indian teachers make very limited use of dialogic
methods and also that teachers rather than encouraging a dialogue, tend to mute students'
voices in their classrooms as these may pose a threat to the knowledge and authority of the
teacher. In such a situation students too tend to be afraid to give answers of which they are
unsure and may never present their experiences that conflict with what is being presented in
science classes. Thus students may hold on to alternate views as there is no opportunity to
express these.
In a science class, where there are diverse learners, a dialogic approach can help bring about
different perspectives and voices. Dialogue does not mean a teacher framing closed-ended
questions with the students competitively trying to answer the questions in monosyllabic
answers. Dialogue implies that both teachers and students present their ideas and contribute to
the teaching-learning process. Classroom interactions can be between teacher-student,
teacher-group, teacher-class and vice versa as well. The teacher has an important role in
guiding the conversation purposefully towards reasoning and inquiry and active engagement
in dialogue, argumentation and/or discussions helps students learning. Thus, equipping the
science class not merely with experiments and activities, but reinforcing them with
discussions and dialogue can help in the science learning process. Teachers need to be
supported to create classrooms that are rich in relevant dialogues that will lead to student
learning. This requires teachers to have a deeper knowledge of the subject under discussion
than they normally have, and the confidence gained through experience and the knowledge.
They can be initiated into such ecologies of learning by participating in peer discussions with
mentor support.
1.4.4

People's science associations, science museums, clubs

Since 2003, the National Teachers Science Congress has been providing a biennial forum to
teachers of the country to enhance their level of scientific awareness. It is a round-table to
communicate and share innovative concepts / methodologies of science education. A special
emphasis is on proving applications of localized knowledge in respective field of science and
technology through eight cross cutting facets as
1. Hands-on Activities based on scientific principles
2. Exploratory Modules/studies including written material / documents developed by the
teachers
3. Experimental Study on scientific concepts, processes or phenomena
4. Use of Resource Material
5. Multimedia Packages / Software Packages/ IT based Modules / Improvised
Apparatus/Kits
6. Evaluation/Assessment techniques
7. Action Research by Teachers, and
8. Curriculum Reform
Teachers are invited to develop their papers for the NTSC through a research framework with
a emphasis on Understanding different sciences in relation to each other, linking knowledge
of science at different levels, and correlating sciences beyond the classrooms/ innovative
methodologies. The BEST Scheme will strengthen this effort by supporting a tens of
thousands of teachers academically and hundreds of them financially to present improved

quality of work at the congress in larger numbers, from all parts of the country.
The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) manages 25 science museums/centres
across India in addition to the Central Research & Training Laboratory, in Kolkata. The
Council has developed 23 Science Centres especially in rural areas and provides hands on
learning opportunity to rural children. These science centres provide an experiment based
learning environment to promote the spirit of inquiry, creative talent and scientific temper.
This is through exhibits and activities; indoor and outdoor in addition to demonstrations and
training programmes. The facilities of the NCSM as well as their trained resource personnel
can be used to mentor teachers in the BEST Scheme.
1.4.5

Projects in NCSC, NTSC and INSPIRE

INSPIRE
"Innovation of Science Pursuit for Inspire Research (INSPIRE)" is an inclusive program of
the Department of Science & Technology to attract young talent to science. The details of the
INSPIRE scheme are given in Annexure-B. Nationwide in reach and conducted on a scale as
large as planned in the BEST Scheme. Hence, it offers lessons for the implementation of the
BEST Scheme. However, while young students, already highly motivated in science, with
high self-esteem, have a relatively short sojourn in the education system. They are at a stage
where they can be inspired even through a single Camp that exposes them to innovative ideas
and inspiring scientists. Any interaction model for teachers will have to be sustained through
a process that includes building their professional esteem and collaborative mentoring. This
will be taken into account in the BEST Scheme.
NCSTC Initiatives
The National Council for S&T Communication endeavours to stimulate scientific and
technological temper in the country and coordinate and steer such efforts. Among its list of
activities (included in Annexure-B) are providing short-term training in science
communication to school teachers and activists of S&T based voluntary organisations, and
giving awards and recognition for outstanding science communicators. Besides, NCSTC
offers programmes for building a variety of relevant skills among science teachers and
activists of science based voluntary organizations. Significantly, the NCSTC coordinates with
State Councils and networks of S&T based organisations. Its activities, database of
organisations carrying out exemplary work in science education and its active network make
it the ideal organisation in the country to implement the BEST Scheme.
The NCSTC, through the Children's Science Congress organised each year, provides an
opportunity for all children between 10 and 17 years of age to work in teams under a guide on
an identified theme, select a problem from the neighbourhood, develop a hypothesis and
conduct field research. The BEST Scheme is synergistic with this effort, as active
participation in the Congress can be one of the criteria to identify promising science
educators, while the processes of BEST is aimed to considerably improve the quality of
support provided by teachers in investigative projects.
1.4.6

Vigyan Jathas and People's Science Movements

Three mutually reinforcing functions are served with the involvement of peoples science
movements (PSMs). They provide decentralizing partnerships for literacy and adult
education. They are important platforms for reaching out to communities beyond formal

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education systems of and related institutional mechanisms of the government. Citizens from
all walks of life and levels of preparedness benefit from an inclusive approach of PSMs.
The committed and locally sensitive and grounded science education personnel, who are part
of the PSMs would help coalesce communities of science educators envisaged through the
BEST initiative. The different efforts of some of the PSMs are listed in Annexure-3.
1.5 Need for collaborative teacher groups across educational levels
One of the main objectives of the BEST Project is to identify and award science and
mathematics teachers with interest and commitment in order to create a social space that
expands the creative potential of scientists in the country. The award therefore has the
following components:
Financial incentives
Social recognition, roles and responsibilities that enhance the self-esteem of the
committed teachers
An assured community of scientists and mathematicians being available to support and
sustain the teaching community
Thus the process of identification is integrated with the creation of a social networking space
that gives the award a meaning and fulfils at the same time a strong community that nurtures
and sustains a culture of doing science. The project, though prima facie an award scheme, is
modelled to create an ecosystem that sustains positive energy for expanding scientific base of
the society. A large number of collaborative local groups (over 600 at any point of time) will
be created during the project. Some salient aspects of the design are highlighted below.
1.5.1

Citizen science projects

An experience in doing science, however elementary it may be, is essential for science
teachers. Most of the current science teachers have gained content knowledge by reading
about science as mentioned in 1.2 and seldom by doing science. Though citizen science
projects are in the air for over a century, it is the onset of social networking and effective use
of the Internet space for communication and collaboration that revitalized the interest. A
citizen science project typically involves public participation in an ongoing scientific
research. Special projects are already being launched in India as well as abroad to invite
students and teachers of science to participate. Citizen science projects, unlike science-fair
projects, have a longer duration, continuous engagement and collaboration that could sustain a
network of teachers and scientists. As a part the BEST, citizen science projects will be
specifically designed collaboratively along with scientists and launched to engage students,
teachers and interested citizens. The teachers who take active interest in such projects will be
identified for additional roles and responsibilities. A list of actual and possible citizen projects
are listed in Section 3.
1.5.2

Vertical integration

A group of collaborating teachers often needs an inflow of ideas and support from experts
who are engaged in doing science. Therefore it is envisaged that the process of BEST must
have interactions and collaborations with the science and mathematics students, teachers and
researchers from colleges, universities and other academic institutions. The primary,
secondary and tertiary teachers will also be mutually supporting each other and participate in

functional networking activities/workshops that take place from time to time. To ensure that
the collaboration between science practitioners and science teachers is mutually rewarding,
the scheme encourages participation of teachers in ongoing academic work mainly done by
the professional scientists. It is expected that such an involvement will help boost the
confidence and social standing of science teachers in society. The mechanisms for vertical
integration are described in Sections 4 and 5.
1.5.3

Models of integration

(a) Integrating Science and Science Education: The quality of science and mathematics
education in the country directly impacts research in science and mathematics by
providing the creative resource. Though India has excellent institutions and
individuals who do internationally acclaimed quality research in science and
mathematics, not many of this section directly impacts the quality of science and
mathematics education in the country. Thus there is a need to functionally integrate
these two communities, for this integration is mutually rewarding. BEST provides
processes to integrate what happens in research labs with what happens in the
classrooms.
(b) Integrating scientific ethos into local languages: Most of the science communication
happens in the English language, and to expand the base of science communication, it
is essential to do science and mathematics in local Indian languages. Some of the best
teachers are often left out due to the language barrier. BEST addresses a strategy to
create science communication in local languages and does not exclude those who are
not fluent in English.
(c) Participation of Undergraduate Students: Science teachers come from the
undergraduate colleges in the country. The image and knowledge of science they
transmit to children depends a lot on the quality of undergraduate education.
Therefore, it is important to provide an experience of doing science at this stage.
BEST provides programs and opportunities for the undergraduate students to
participate in doing science as well as interact directly with science teachers at the
block and district level.
(d) Creation of a sustainable self-rewarding multi-lingual social network is the essence
of the BEST project integration model. Transparency in communication among all
stakeholders provides the integrating force. A self-sustaining social network among
them must necessarily cross a critical mass in each region/state. For this, the project
involves two interacting communities: a community of teachers and a community of
academics. Engagement driven processes will be used for identification of BEST
teachers, as much as to expand the functional network of all the stake holders. A large
network, inclusive of all stakeholders of the country, will be brought to a single
platform. To enable community formation and to sustain a functional social
networking, the project will use a multi-lingual digital platform developed by using
the state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure.
1.5.4

Development of a vertically integrated multi-step model for BEST

A vertically integrated operational structure for sustainable grass-root level science


engagement that integrates science and science education is proposed for optimization of

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resource mobilization. Right from a National level panel to local working groups,
partnerships are built among those in science and in science education associated with several
national, State and regional institutes of excellence. These partnership will enable a network
of teachers and science education mentors at the grass-roots. Mentors will work with 30,000
teachers each year in schools at the Cluster, Block and District levels. In a period of five
years about 150,000 teachers will be engaged by an expanding team of mentors and mentor
teachers (Figure 1). The process of nomination and identification of teachers is elaborated in
Section 4 and 5.
2.

Goals of BEST

Building Educators for Science Teaching, BEST, is one of the most expansive Schemes yet
envisaged to address a significant fraction of school science and mathematics teachers. The
Scheme aims to do more. Through suitable incentives and collaborative organisational
mechanisms, the BEST Scheme also aims to create a climate for sustained professional
development of science and mathematics teachers. The mechanisms include building
communities of teachers, pedagogy experts and science and mathematics content experts to
encourage and support committed teachers in their effective teaching-learning practices.
2.1 Recognition and support for science and mathematics learning through projects
The HSTP (Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme) has shown that it is possible for
experiments relevant to the topics covered in middle-school science to be carried out in classrooms with easily available materials. By conducting experiments and discussing the
observations, teachers and students begin to appreciate what it means to do Science. However,
teachers can only initiate such activities when they feel assured of expert support in science
and mathematics. Through the incentives and processes initiated in the BEST Scheme,
teachers will be encouraged to propose and carry out investigative projects of 2 to 3 months
duration with their students. They will be encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers
and will be adequately supported through mentoring by experts.
2.2 Initiating and sustaining collaborative teacher groups across educational levels
Collaborative engagements between teacher groups, mentors, which come with expertise in
science and/or science education and students on one level, and between schools, higher
education institutions and scientific institutions at another level, can create the necessary
climate for improved science and mathematics education. The incentives and processes of the
BEST Scheme will encourage formation and sustenance of collaborative communities of
teacher groups across educational levels.
2.3 Towards Professional development and self esteem among communities of
teachers
Research in teacher professional development shows that beliefs and attitudes of teachers
change only when teachers interact with their peers, share and discuss their experiences. They
also derive their self-esteem from the standing of the community they belong to. The BEST
Scheme proposes to initiate processes that help in formation and sustenance of communities
of teachers who follow exemplary teaching practices and contribute to the development of
professional competence. Through provision of motivational incentives to teachers and

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suitable infrastructure and resources to support teacher communities, the BEST Scheme
conceptualises such communities and plans its implementation.
3.

Designing the processes

The structure and mechanisms of the BEST Scheme have been evolved through consultative
meetings, involving stakeholders from a few States/UT: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka,
Chennai and Puducherry. The mode of interactions were different in all the areas.
3.1 Inputs from the workshop cum consultative meeting at Puducherry
A one-day workshop at Pondicherry was organised on 14 August, 2013 by Vigyan Prasar and
HBCSE also participated in it. Several eminent educationists, scientists, teachers and
members of teacher associations from Puducherry, Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu
State participated and contributed to several critical ideas. Four groups addressed the four
major questions related to the implementation of the BEST Scheme. The first group concurred
that it was essential to build teacher communities and sustain them.
Identifying teachers
The scheme should address not only the teachers who were already exemplary, but also those
with potential to be exemplary teachers. It was felt that teaching-learning innovations need to
be communicated to all the teachers through several modes, including the social media. The
important criteria for identification of teachers were cited as evidence of interest in and
dedication to teaching, a tendency to work voluntarily, evidence of contribution to pedagogy
and out-of-the-box teaching strategies, abilities to structure and conduct handson activities,
positive feedback from students and peer reviews, inputs of the headmaster, willingness to
learn, and put in consistent effort over time. The group emphasised that the process must
equally address rural and urban areas, as well as regional languages. It was suggested that the
number identified teachers could be a proportion of the population covered.
What should be the role of mentor agencies?
Mentors and mentor agencies were expected to provide academic support to develop skills,
confidence in content and pedagogy, in addition to providing administrative support for the
processes of the scheme. It was suggested that the mentor agency could be well-recognized
and district-based organisation/ body, having contacts with a a large number of local teachers.
A committee was suggested at the district level to easily provide frequent support to teachers.
Notably, the group stressed that teachers needed to be supported in a non-judgemental way
and a 1: 20 ratio for mentor to mentee would be adequate.
What are the types of Incentives that will interest teachers?
While a few suggested securing an increment in the identified teacher's salary, others felt that
the scheme should also recognise the effort of those who had contributed to the teacher's
efforts in improving teaching-learning, which would include students. The recognition should
be conferred by well-known and respected experts in the field. The recipient should be given
cash awards and be allowed to decide on how to use it for research / publication / travel, etc.
The award should enable adequate exposure and visibility for the work done, by supporting
travel and communication even at the block / cluster / district level. The agency at the local
level should enable such dissemination.

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It was opined that an initial start-up fund to teachers would go a long way in helping them
innovate in teaching, based on which incentives could follow later. Incentives should also be
provided to the school of the awardee to buy equipment / establish a science park in school for
the school or the area. The group felt that teachers critically need continued support and
follow-up even after the award. Incentives may be in the form of tours to other countries to
enrich learning / meet eminent scientists. The follow up could also come from a forum of
awardees created to sustain interactions. Awards could also be given to institutions for
collective action.
BEST should help promote the culture of experimentation / criticism / design of experiments /
writing essential to promote innovation among teachers and students. Reiterating the
suggestion in relation to selection criteria, this group also stressed the importance of
documenting the innovations by teachers and sharing through all media, including a portal.
Teacher participants in NCSC, NTSC and local science forums were suggested to be included
in the process.
It was suggested that the DIET should be involved in an active way rather than merely in its
organisational capacity. It was felt that DIETs have a list of teachers they can involve and
form communities of teachers in about 10 schools as a unit.
3.2 Inputs from the consultative meeting at Mumbai
A meeting was held at HBCSE, Mumbai of about 50 participants over 1.5 days on 27-28,
August, 2013. Besides the DST and HBCSE members, there were members from
Maharashtra SCERT, several DIETs, Indian Institute of Education, Pune, the Maharashtra
Prathamik Shikshan Parishad, large school systems like Rayat Shikshan Sanstha and Shivaji
education Society, several teacher associations at the school and higher education levels,
voluntary agencies committed to science and mathematics education like Marathi Vidnyan
Parishad (MVP), NavNirmiti, Aapanach and Jidnyasa Trust, as well as GUJCOST from
Gujarat and RVEC from Karnataka.
A large number of issues were raised and discussed. These included focusing on identifying
motivated teachers and teacher educators, facilities needed to enhance professional esteem,
characterising motivated teachers, their expectations from the Scheme, processes of
establishing partnership between teachers and school administration, optimal number of
awardees, etc.
The Scheme would be open to regular teachers from recognized schools, including
primary, middle and secondary levels, and would not include teacher educators. It was felt
that the award process that would address improving self esteem, and encourage best
practices, would need to generate collaborative local level teacher communities, may include
citizen science projects as a platform for academic interactions. Motivated retired teachers and
voluntary educators would serve as mentors to the awardees in the Scheme.
One of the important foci of the sessions was to understand the current practices of teacher
professional development programmes, the processes that are and can potentially be used to
identify and engage teachers, and the roles that could be played the different organizations
represented at the meeting. It was sought to document the work done so far.
The presentations revealed that Maharashtra State has an active SCERT and 33 DIETs. Every

13

teacher visits a DIET at least once a year. They could, through their Innovation / Evaluation &
Research Section help identify the potential BEST Teacher. The voluntary organisations
and school systems worked with educational authorities at the district, block and cluster
levels, and had a database of motivated teachers and teacher groups at the elementary school
level. The MVP confers awards on motivated science teachers, and has a database of
awardees and potential awardees.
In Karnataka, the Chamarajnagar Resource Centre and Knowledge Development Centre, IISc
are well known facilitators in science education. The RV Educational Consortium from
Bengaluru works closely with Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Karnataka SCERT and
DIETs and 19 important agencies. Cluster level meetings of teachers and educational
authorities are a regular feature in Karnataka, and can be useful for identifying potential
awardees.
Some of the evidences to be sought while deciding criteria for nomination to BEST Awards
were listed as: positive feedback from students, works with colleagues and shares credit, is a
project guide and inspires children to perform in exhibitions, contributes to green action,
community activities, etc. beyond school time, has ability to communicate in local
languages, works to improve school environment, develops innovative teaching methods in
science, encourage questioning by students, participates in academic teacher fora, gets
positive opinions from parents, is regular in teaching, is a continuous learner, has leadership
qualities and participates in current science events / campaigns.
3.3 Consolidation of guidelines for structure and processes for BEST Awards
The structure, processes and guidelines for identification of BEST Awards as well as ideas
about the nature of BEST awards emerged from the meetings at Puducherry and HBCSE.
These have been incorporated suitably in the following Sections.
4.

Processes of BEST: The Awards, Organisations, Linkages


4.1 Awards: Need for processes

The Building Educators for Science Teaching Awards Scheme has three levels of Awards:
Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3. Each level is a recognition of the level of commitment and
contribution of the educator working within the formal school system to science and
mathematics learning among the students and the community.
The awards at the higher level go to those who give documentary evidences of their
commitment to education in science and mathematics. Higher level awards are expected to
encourage educators to work in collaboration with their peers and mentors and follow
research based practices in teaching-learning. Generating the evidences to help identify the
awardees for the higher level awards is built into the processes of the BEST Scheme. For
instance, the potential beneficiaries of the Level-2 and Level-3 awards are expected to
have generated documentation, and shared their work through seminars as well as print
and digital media.
As the level of award increases, the criteria for eligibility of the awards become increasingly

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based on documentary and other evidences generated collaboratively and through transparent
processes. For instance, at the Level-1, the nominees are expected to describe their work,
including one or more of the following points: (a) innovative strategies used in teachinglearning of science, (b) specific role played in guiding students' projects, and (c) activities
related to science education conducted in local community. On the other hand, for the awards
at Level-2 and Level-3, nominees should have won the Level-1 BEST Award in the current or
earlier years, actively participated in group projects and science events after winning the
Level 1 award, presented their work and provided critical feedback on the work of other
awardees, submitted teaching/ learning resources at the BEST Portal, and feedback from
community (peers, parents, principal and students).
BEST Award Level-1, given by nomination based on satisfying given criteria, carries a
certificate and cash of Rs.5000/- per awardee.
BEST Award Level-2 demands evidences of collaborative work and its documentation, from
teacher groups or individual teachers as well as from their mentors. All individuals and
institutions, who submit evidences of actively promoting collaborative improvement of
teaching-learning of science and mathematics, are rewarded. It carries cash awards as follows:
Rs.25,000/- for each awardee teacher or teacher group,
Rs.25,000/- cash award per awardee teacher for the school,
Rs.10,000/- cash award per awardee teacher to the local organisation that facilitates
the science and mathematics activities and collaborative interactions in order to
improve their facilities, and
Rs.5000/- per awardee teacher for the mentor.
BEST Award Level-3, rewards those among the Level-2 awardees in the current or previous
years, who show evidences of exemplary practices worthy of sharing in National and
International fora. Hence, they are provided the necessary funds to participate in such
conferences. They are given opportunities to develop their ideas by placement for about a
month in suitable S&T institutions or those working in S&T education in the country. They
will also be eligible for selection to teacher teams for participation in international exchange
programmes.
4.2 Summary of processes
This sub-section describes the organisations, structures, and processes that will build and
strengthen the mechanisms for improving the professional competence and social standing of
science educators through the grand alliance between MHRD and DST. The Scheme will set
up structures and mechanisms to support and sustain collaboration between educational
bodies and S&T organisations at the Centre and State levels.
4.3 Strengthening educational organisations and channels
Implementation of the BEST Scheme to reach even 2% of the school teacher population of
over 6.5 million will require a series of structures that reach all the way to the grass roots.
DST as well as the MHRD have been successfully involved in schemes that reach all corners
of the country, though so far largely through mutually independent channels.

15

Several State institutions, like SCERT and DIETS are involved in pre- and in-service teacher
education programmes. Participation of these institutions in the processes of the BEST
Scheme would help in building their own capacity for science teacher education. Besides, the
infrastructure and resources of the institutions can be optimally built up and utilised for
consolidation, follow-up and documentation of the efforts.
In some States, like in Karnataka State, there are award schemes for teachers, with the
associated teacher identification processes and teacher programmes. Building on the synergies
of other teacher development schemes that address different issues can lead to coherent and
holistic teacher development processes.
Teachers often have to balance the different tasks assigned to them, which may be at times
conflicting. They struggle to allocate time between the administrative demands of school
systems and their academic commitment to students learning. Involving the educational
bodies governing the schools in the BEST Scheme, such as educational authorities of the
State(UT) and the major major national level School Boards, like CBSE, would help towards
focusing teachers' priorities on student learning. As a result, the BEST Scheme will be able to
better support and enhance the educators' roles within the education system. Besides, the
education authorities, some of which have relinquished their academic roles will be
encouraged, through collaboration with committed S&T personnel, to contribute academically
to teacher development. This will help strengthen existing teacher development efforts to
serve long term sustenance of the effects of the BEST Scheme for science educators. It will
also serve as a relevant model at the State level to include teachers of subjects other than
science and mathematics.
4.4 Mechanisms and methods for collaborative implementation
The processes of the BEST Scheme attempt to set up collaborative mechanisms between the
Central and State S&T institutions and the Educational bodies of the State and Centre. This
implies that education and science can now come together, so the teacher may be able to
collaborate and learn not only from teachers of pedagogy, but also professionally update their
science content knowledge and build pedagogic subject content in collaboration with science
mentors. The mechanisms set up in the Scheme will help teachers network professionally with
their peers in their vicinity. But that is not all. It will also create channels for teachers to
network with their peers from all levels of education from primary school to colleges and
Universities, as well as with scientists and educationists around the country. In fact, the
Scheme will enable a limited number to network professionally with their peers from around
the world.
The mechanisms for identification of the beneficiaries of the BEST Scheme involve Hubs and
Working Groups. Committed individuals from the Hubs partner with other individuals in the
State, District, etc., who have been contributing to science and mathematics education and
dissemination in schools and the community at large. Hubs set up partnerships with all
institutions and organisations from which the individuals come, and that support science
education. Hubs provide the infrastructural and organisational support for the activities of
Working Groups, collaborative teacher development, and digital documentation and sharing.
Working Groups of individuals with a history of contributing to science education at the State
or local regions, design the mechanisms for teacher collaborations and for identification of

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potential teacher groups and individual teachers engaged in science and mathematics
education for the BEST Award.
4.5 Hubs, Working Groups and terms of reference
The Hubs and Working Groups that will initiate collaborative mechanisms for a national
commitment to science and mathematics education, and in the process facilitate the
implementation of the BEST Awards Scheme through the length and breadth of the country,
are described below under suitable subsections. The work flow and time schedules are
separately given in Section 5.
4.5.1. The National Working Group (NWG)
The National Working Group (NWG) is the apex body that oversees the implementation of
BEST Educator Awards each year at all levels: Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3. The Working
Groups at the Zonal level - about 30 in the country - are accountable to the NWG. The
constitution and terms of reference of the NWG are indicated below.
A.

NWG Constitution
(i) Project coordinators: MHRD & DST (?)
(ii) Members will be "invited" by Project coordinators, especially from Apex Funding
Agency.
(iii) There will be 10 to 20 members drawn from the following institutions:
(iv) Stakeholders and partners: NCERT, UGC, DBT, CSIR, NCSM - may be ex-officio
members
(v) Institutional Members: from one or more institutions, or nationally known agencies,
engaged in Educational R&D: HBCSE, TISS, Eklavya, IISER, etc.
(vi) School Board Members: from one or more of the National School systems: CBSE,
KVS, Navodaya Vidyalayas, AEES, others
(vii) State representatives: Representative members from a couple of State educational
and S&T bodies
(viii) The Group will be reconstituted every two years with one third new members being
inducted.

B.

NWG Terms of Reference


(i)

Oversee and finalise the announcement of the BEST Award Scheme, including
modes of advertisement, content of the announcements and nomination format.
Publicise criteria for identification of awardees.
(ii) Identify about 30 Zonal Hubs institutions around the country, and nominate the
contact persons/ groups for all further correspondence with regard to the BEST
Scheme.
(iii) Ratify Level-1 and Level-2 BEST awardees intimated by the Zonal Hubs.
(iv) Identify Level-3 BEST Educator awardees from nominations forwarded by Zonal
Hubs.
(v) Identify and oversee the Level-3 awards, especially the exchange and placement
schemes for Level-3 awardees.
(vi) Set up a Review of the BEST Scheme to appraise the effectiveness of the Scheme and

17

suggest corrective measures.


4.5.2. Zonal Hubs (ZH)
A Zonal Hub (ZH) is responsible for implementing the Scheme in the region under its
jurisdiction. There will be about 30 such Hubs covering all States and UTs of the country.
Depending on the density of schools, each ZH may include districts beyond a State boundary,
or may cater to more than one State/UT. Each ZH forms a Zonal Working Group as detailed
below and coordinates with the Apex Funding Agency as well as the Local Hubs. The ZH also
collaborates with State and Central S&T institutions and Educational Authorities at the State
and Central level, S&T Departments in Universities and Colleges, and Institutions engaged in
science education.
The significance of preferring a State Educational Authority for a Zonal Hub has been
outlined in Section 4.3.
A.

Examples of Zonal Hub

State Council of Education Research Training, State Institute of Science Education, etc. A list
of Institutions and Organisations in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa that are examples of Zonal
Hubs, Local Hubs or Partners of these Hubs is given in Annexure-C.
B.

Responsibilities of a Zonal Hub


(i)

Identifies list of potential Local Hubs following criteria outlined in the later section
below for the ZWG to consider.
(ii) Gets the announcements and forms translated with help from ZWG members
(iii) Coordinates with the Local Hubs on academic and administrative aspects of
implementing the Scheme: in dissemination information about the Scheme,
receiving list of awardees, putting up awardee lists to ZWG from time to time.
(iv) Coordinates directly with Apex Funding Agency on all aspects of the BEST
Scheme.
(v) Communicates to Apex Funding Agency the BEST Awardees at Level-1 and Level2.
(vi) Communicates to Apex Funding Agency the nominees for Level-3 Awards.
(vii) Forwards request for annual estimated budget to Apex Funding Agency as allowed
under the Scheme and is accountable to Apex Funding Agency for utilisation of the
funds.
(viii) Forms the Zonal Working Group as outlined below.
(ix) Coordinates, through a Zonal Working Group, with the Local Working Groups as
detailed below, as well as State and Central S&T institutions and Administrative
authorities, and S&T Departments in Universities and Colleges, and Institutions
engaged in science education.
(x) Maintains documentation on the Scheme at the State level: a list of schools,
nominated teachers, mentors and awardees, etc. Maintains all documentary records
of Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3 nominees and awardees.
(xi) Helps the Zonal Working Group to organise Annual Zonal Teachers' Conference,
and distributes Level-2 Awards.
(xii) Facilitates Zonal Working Group meetings as needed.

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4.5.3. Zonal Working Group (ZWG)


This is a partnership of Institutions from which teacher mentors are drawn and State Councils
of S&T. The teacher mentors may come from S&T Institutions, Universities, well-known
colleges involved in S&T Communication and teacher orientation, voluntary organisations
involved in science education, etc.
A.

Constitution of a ZWG
(i)
(ii)
(iii)

(iv)

B.

Zonal Hub invites 15 to 20 members to form the ZWG.


The members of the ZWG are individuals, who have been engaged in different
aspects of science and mathematics education, in the formal educational set up, in
outreach activities, teacher education, and so on.
These individuals may belong to any of the following organisations working in
science and mathematics education in the jurisdiction of the ZH:
State S&T organisations
State Education Bodies
Central or State funded S&T institutions, like CSIR Laboratories, IITs
Central and State Universities
institutions under DAE, DBT, DRDO, DoS
Voluntary organisations
Teacher Associations
The Group may be reconstituted every two years with one third new members being
inducted.

Terms of Reference of ZWG


(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(v)
(vi)

Identifies Local Hubs.


Finalises Level-1 awardees.
Finalises Level-2 awardees.
Organises Zonal Teachers Conference with help from ZH
Finalises Level-2 Awards, and nominates potential Level-3 awardees from its
jurisdiction.
Oversees the processes in the Local Hubs and Local Working Groups, including
teacher identification, mentoring and generation of relevant documents for evidence
and sharing, and archiving on the BEST portal.

4.5.4. Local Hub (LH)


Local Hubs are the contact points of the Scheme that are closest to the teachers and mentor
educators. There will be about 600 Local Hubs in the country. They may typically operate
within a District. Active and effective District Education Offices, DIETs, etc., may be
identified by the ZWG to be Local Hubs. Besides organisational aspects of the BEST Scheme
at the local level, Local Hubs are expected to contribute academically to support teachers in
the locality and coordinate with the mentors.
A.

Criteria to be Local Hub


(i)

They will be identified by ZWG

19

(ii)

(iii)
(iv)

(v)
(vi)
B.

The choice and jurisdiction of Local Hubs will be based on the density, physical
access and available organisational and academic facilities and academic expertise
at the Hubs. The jurisdiction may be specified in terms of school blocks, where
applicable.
All Local Hubs are expected to be RTI compliant in all their operations.
The minimum and maximum number of schools catered to by a Local Hub will be
400 and 3000 respectively. The actual numbers of schools associated with each
Local Hub will vary around the country. Thus, districts with more than 3000 schools
may have more than one Local Hub. Similarly, two or more districts with low
density of schools may have a single Local Hub.
An Local Hub will be preferably be a State educational agency/body or a local
educational institution having the required facilities (item (ii) above), which has
been coordinating with local schools and teachers.
Based on the recommendations of ZWG, the Zonal Hub will announce the list of
Local Hubs in its jurisdiction.

Examples of Local Hubs

An existing DIET, Govt. or Govt. aided College or Higher Secondary School.


C.

Terms of Reference of Local Hubs


(i)

Reaches out announcement and all information about the Scheme to all schools
within the jurisdiction, and invites nominations of teachers and groups of teachers
from school Principals, Block Education Officers, etc.
(ii) Receives nominations for Level-1 BEST Educator Award.
(iii) Identifies S&T individuals with institutional backing or independent resource
persons that become mentors of teachers or provide academic support, including
individuals from NGOs and volunteer Educators.
(iv) Provides organisational and academic facilities to support teachers' science
education activities. Informing all teachers and mentors in the jurisdiction about the
available facilities.
(v) Maintains a list of schools, nominated teachers, mentors and awardees.
(vi) Seeks, receives and maintains work reports and documentation from teachers in
support of their application for Level-2 and Level-3 awards.
(vii) Organises Annual Local Teachers' Seminars, distribution of Level-1 Awards.
(viii) Communicates with the Zonal Hub.
(ix) Encourages and facilitates the documentation and dissemination by teachers of their
studies, activities and data.
(x) Ensures that all documents generated are also preserved and uploaded on the BEST
portal.
(xi) Seeks registration of all science and mathematics teachers and stakeholders at the
portal.
(xii) Seeks nominations from the schools under its jurisdiction.
D.

Criteria for selection of mentors for teachers/ teacher groups

Level-1 awardees are associated with mentors. Each mentor may work with one or more
individual teachers or with teacher groups. Mentors may collaborate with other mentors. They

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satisfy the following criteria:


(i)
Are willing to mentor teachers and teacher groups - to guide and provide help to
science and mathematics teachers.
(ii) Are already known in the locality for their initiative in conducting science and
mathematics programs for teachers and/or students.
(iii) Are known to work with groups of students and teachers and encourage
collaborative projects.
(iv) Engage teachers and support their activities at the school level.
(v) Design engaging projects in collaboration with teachers and students.
(vi) Have access to resources, such as laboratory and computer facilities, which can be
made available to the teachers they are mentoring and the students of those teachers.
(vii) Can support teachers to participate in the project portal.
(viii) Can operate with relative ease in the local language and translate English documents
and resources into local language.
4.5.5. Local Working Group (LWG)
Local Working Group consists of committed members of the Local Hub along with a few
members who represent the institutions and organisations from which mentors are drawn. It
may also include committed local individuals.
A.

Constitution of LWG, Criteria for partnership


(i)
(ii)

Members from LH
Members from partner organisations from which Mentors are drawn may be
Science Centres, Science Fora, STEM Institutions (eg. Science & Engineering
Colleges), High School and Higher Secondary Schools, S&T R&D Institutions,
Teacher education institutions, and Voluntary Organisations.
(iii) Number of members between 5 and 20, depending on the number of schools in the
jurisdiction and number of associated partner (mentor) institutions.
(iv) Not all mentors or potential mentors will be LWG members. But most institutions
and organisations from which mentors are drawn may have representatives in LWG.
(v) The term of an LWG member will be 3 years.
B.

Terms of Reference for LWG


(i)

Screens Level-1 nominations of science and mathematics teachers for eligibility to


Level-1 BEST Award.
(ii) Helps LH organise Annual Local Teachers' Seminars.
(iii) Scouts for potential BEST awardees and encouraging them to share their expertise
among their colleagues.
(iv) Ensures association of mentors with Level-1 awardees.
(v) Supports teachers in documenting teachers' ideas and publish them in the BEST
portal.
(vi) Provides translation support of resources available on the BEST portal.
(vii) Supports teachers and students to participate in science and mathematics events.

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4.6 Identification of BEST Awardees


BEST Awards are given to science and mathematics teachers from schools, identified
through a nationwide, distributed and locally effective process. As described in Section 4.1,
there are three levels of BEST Awards: Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3. The awards at higher
level recognise increasingly significant contributions of teacher and teacher groups to change
the teaching-learning of science and mathematics in their schools and community of teachers
and students.
Awardees at Level-1 are nominated. Nominators may be school principals or headmasters,
block education officers, in consultation with school principals, educators from DIETs, CRCs
or BRCs, who have interacted with the nominees in their professional capacity. Nominations
may be of individual teachers or collaborative groups of teachers. In case of collaborative
groups information must be furnished of individual teachers, as well as the nature of
collaborative work.
Not more than 1% of the total teachers within the jurisdiction of a Local Hub may be
nominated in a year for the Level-1 award.
Only those receiving the BEST Level-1 Award are eligible to be nominated for BEST Level-2
awards. Only Level-2 awardees may be nominated for BEST Level-3 Award. The
identification of awardees for Level-2 and Level-3 is effected through a local process enabling
active engagement of teachers through mentoring as well as facilitation by Local Hubs and
Local Working Groups. The aim of the processes is to form communities of science and
mathematics teachers, who are functionally networked and vertically integrated with
practising scientists and mathematics professionals in schools, colleges and S&T institutions.
4.6.1. General guidelines for identification of BEST awardees
One of the goals of the BEST Awards is to seed communities of teachers with potential for
practising innovative science teaching-learning. The following demonstrable aspects of
teaching-learning provide evidence of such potential among teachers:
(i)
Has adequate knowledge of content in science and mathematics;
(ii) Demonstrates use of innovative and locally relevant pedagogic strategies suitable
for the level of students taught;
(iii) Demonstrates adequate pedagogic content knowledge knowledge related to the
teaching-learning of specific topics in science and mathematics;
(iv) Is proactive in dealing with equity issues;
(v) Participates in academic teacher for a;
(vi) Participates in current science campaigns/ events;
(vii) Collaborates with peers and mentors to generate science/ educational resources; and
(viii) Demonstrates leadership in science education in the local community, and society.
In specific terms, the recipients of BEST Awards are
(a) respected by students, parents and peer teachers,
(b) fondly remembered by past students,
(c) passionate about teaching,
(d) team workers collaborate and share ideas with colleagues,
(e) flexible enough to adopt innovative ideas, eg. use inquiry based science teaching-

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learning methods,
(f) flexible to cater to needs of diverse students (sensitive to gender, class, region,
religion, etc.) and topics,
(g) able to engage all students in activities and asking questions in and outside
classrooms,
(h) developers of experimental kits, teaching aids, hands-on activities, and school
laboratory,
(i) active guides of students' science and technology projects,
(j) writers of books and reading materials in science for students, and of articles on
teaching-learning,
(k) readers and users of books and materials (other than textbooks, eg. Encyclopedia, cocurricular books, articles on research or teaching practices),
(l) proactive in (i) connecting science and mathematics to everyday life of students, (ii)
using community as a resource, (iii) organising community based activities in science,
and (iv) teacher-community building through collaborative activities.
4.6.2. Criteria and eligibility for BEST Level-1 Awards
The following criteria may be used to generate the announcements and nomination forms.
Nominees must
(i)
Be Regular teachers in Recognised schools.
(ii) Have attendance of 80% or above during the school year for the 2 years prior to the
Award year.
(iii) Have minimum service of 3 years.
(iv) Not have been associated with commercial teaching institutions (eg. Coaching
classes) at least for past 2 years.
(v) Produce testimonials from past students, their parents and peer teachers (at least 3
from any one or more of these) that clearly indicate (some of) the general and
specific qualities indicated above.
(vi) Have contributed to growth of students' learning, and improvement through the
year(s), as shown by students' performance.
(vii) Give write-ups including the following points: (a) innovative strategies used in
teaching-learning of science, (b) specific role played in guiding students' projects,
and (c) activities related to science education conducted in local community.
It is desirable that nominees have written books and reading materials in science for students,
and articles on teaching-learning.
4.6.3. Process for identification of BEST Level-1 awardees
(a) The identification of educator awardees at Level-1 is through nomination.
(b) Nominators may be school principals or headmasters, block education officers, in
consultation with school principals, educators from DIETs, CRCs or BRCs.
(c) Nominations may be of individual teachers or collaborative groups of teachers. In case
of collaborative groups information must be furnished of individual teachers, as well
as the nature of collaborative work.
(d) Nomination must reach the Local Hub corresponding to the jurisdiction of the
nominee's school on or before the announced last date for the same.
(e) The corresponding LWG considers the nominations, and screens those who satisfy the
criteria (listed above).

23

(f) Not more than 1% of the total teachers within the jurisdiction of the LH may be
identified for Level-1 award in a year.
(g) The screened nominations are forwarded by the LH to the ZH, ratified by the ZWG
and forwarded to Apex Funding Agency.
(h) The cash awards are given to the Level-1 awardees at the Annual Local Teachers'
Seminars organised by LH with help from LWG.
4.6.4. Process for identification of BEST Level-2 and Level-3 awardees
Only those who have received BEST Level-1 Award, either in the current or previous years,
are eligible to be nominated for the BEST Level-2 Awards. Level-1 awardees are then
associated with Mentors following criteria listed in Section 4.5.4 (D). They choose an
investigative project either on the teaching-learning process or on a topic that they teach. They
write a tentative proposal. Projects may be of duration from 1 to 3 months. Awardees are
encouraged to discuss their project proposals with Mentors, to collaborate with their
colleagues and work with students on the project.
Further, Level-1 awardees are invited to join as members of the BEST Academy. The BEST
academy will include all the Level I awardees from all over the country and the LWG, ZWG
and NWG members. Continued membership will depend on continued collaborative
engagement in the BEST process.
Non-awardee teachers are also invited to share resources, participate in discussions and take
initative in local programs and work collaboratively with the local awardee teachers. After the
first year selection which happens mostly through nomination, preference will be given to
non-awardee teachers who collaborated with the awardees. Non-awardee teachers will be
encouraged to participate in this event actively and will be informed that such teachers will be
considered on a priority basis for the identification and nomination of subsequent year's
awards.
4.6.5. Annual Local Teachers Seminars and Zonal Teachers Conference
The projects, whether addressing the teaching-learning process, or one or more topics in
science and mathematics, need to preferably engage students in investigations in science or
mathematics. About three months after the announcement of BEST Level-1 Award, an
Annual Local Teachers Seminar is organised by each Local Hub with help from LWG.
Projects will be presented at the Seminar by individual or groups of teachers, who will also
submit reports on the projects. These presentations and reports, along with testimonials, from
principals, peers and students, in evidence of the involvement of the authors in the project
provide some of the inputs for nomination of BEST Level-2 and Level-3 Awardees.
Nominations for BEST Level-2 Award are made by the LWG on the basis of the project
reports, presentations at the Local Teachers' Seminar, and testimonials of contributions. The
nominations are screened, and those that satisfy the criteria given in Section 4.6.6 below are
forwarded to the ZH.
ZH, with help of ZWG organises the Annual Zonal Teachers Conference, where the nominees
present the project work and any extensions to their work based on inputs received at the
LWG to a wider (Zonal) audience of educators. Based on the relative performance of the
nominees, ZWG finalises the list of BEST Level-2 Awardees, and the nominations for Level-3

24

BESTHBCSEOct 2013 modified for MHRD Jul2014

awards, which ZH communicates to Apex Funding Agency.


4.6.6. Criteria for identification of BEST Level-2 awardees
Only those who have received BEST Level-1 Award, either in the current or previous years,
are eligible to be nominated for the BEST Level-2 Awards. The nominee must have
(i)
Proposed a project and actively participated in carrying it out, after receiving the
Level-1 award.
(ii) Participated in group projects, science events during the period; shown ability to
work in collaborative teams.
(iii) Received positive feedback from the community of their peers, their school
principal, their students and parents.
(iv) Submitted teaching/learning resources at the BEST Portal.
(v) Provided critical feedback on other presentations during the Local Conference.
(vi) Demonstrated innovations in teaching practices.
(vii) Participated in activities for spreading scientific temper in the community.
Only those who have been nominated for BEST Level-2 Awards are eligible to be considered
for Level-3 awards. Additionally, to be eligible for Level-3 Awards, the nominees must show
evidence of initiatives in documenting their ideas and collaborating with peers to document
community learning.
Nominees at Level-2 and Level-3 may be individual teachers of science and mathematics or
teacher groups who work collaboratively and provide evidence of such collaborative work.
5.

Implementation of BEST Scheme: Work flows and time line

The number of different tasks and processes of the BEST Award, the initiating agency for
each task or process, descriptive title of each task or process, task/ process completion month
and a tentative month assuming Scheme begins in November are indicated in the Table below.
If the beginning month is different the months may be correspondingly changed, noting that
some tasks (eg. Task 16) need specific time gaps.

Task
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Task
Initiating
Completion Task Completion
Agency Initiated Process, Task(s)
(relative month) (tentative month)
AFA
Forms NWG
Month -1
November
Drafts announcement, Nomination
NWG forms
Month 0
December
NWG Identifies Zonal Hubs/ Contacts
Month 0
December
AFA
Announces Scheme/ Advt
Month 1
January
AFA
Creates Portal for Scheme
Month 1
January
ZH
Form ZWG
Month 1
January
ZH
Translates announcements, forms
Month 1
January
Identifies Local Hubs/ Contacts,
ZWG meeting
Month 2
February
Announces, invites nominations at
LH
local
Month 2
February

25

10

LH

11
12
13
14
15

LWG
LWG
ZWG
ZH
AFA

16

LH

17
18
19
20

LWG
ZWG
ZH
AFA

21

ZWG

22

ZH

23

NWG

24

AFA

Receives nominations
Screens nominations, Identifies
Level-1 Educators, sends to ZH
Helps form teacher-mentor groups
Finalises Level-1 awardees
Sends Level-1 list to AFA
Announces Level-1 Awardees
Receipt of work reports,
documentation from teachers (> 3
school working months after task
12)
Local Teachers' Seminar,
Distribution of Level-1 Awards,
Screens reports, identifies potential
Level-2 Educators, nominates to
ZH
Finalises Level-2 awardees
Sends Level-2 list to AFA
Announces Level-2 Awardees
Zonal Teachers Conference,
Distribution of Level-2 Awards,
Identifies potential Level-3
Educators
Sends potential Level-3 awardees
list to AFA
Finalises Level-3 awardees
Announces Level-3 awardees, and
Scheme for next year

AFA = Apex Funding Agency


NWG - National Working Group
ZWG = Zonal Working Group
LWG = Local Working Group
6.

Month 4

April

Month 4
Month 5
Month 5
Month 5
Month 6

April
April-May
May
May
June

Month 9

September

Month 10
Month 11
Month 11
Month 11

Sept/ October
November
November
November

Month 12

December

Month 12
Month 13 =
Month 1
Month 13 =
Month 1

December
January
January (Task 4)

ZH = Zonal Hub
LH = Local Hub

Budget estimates and funding for BEST

The budget of the BEST Awards Scheme over five years is estimated to be Rs.424.65 Crore.
The breakup and details are given below.
6.1 Workshops & Consultative Meetings for development of DPR*
15 Lakhs
The amount has already been sanctioned and utilised for the consultative meetings and
workshops with members of the stakeholder institutions of the Scheme at Mumbai and
Puducherry. Inputs were also gathered through informal meetings in Madhya Pradesh. The
support shown by the participant institutions and organisations at the meetings have given
considerable confidence in the potential success of the proposed distributed, collaborative and
participative aspects of the Scheme.

26

BESTHBCSEOct 2013 modified for MHRD Jul2014

6.2 Awards and incentives


272.5 Crore
This is a goal of the Scheme that can be negotiated to provide sufficient incentives to make
the scheme attractive. The awards under the BEST Scheme are to be given as follows:
Level-1:
To nominated elementary school science and mathematics teachers, working
individually or in groups, who satisfy the pre-determined criteria
Carries a certificate and cash award of Rs.5000/- per awardee
Expected total number of awardees per year = 30,000 teachers
Total awardees in 5 years = 1,50,000 teachers
Level-2:
To Level-1 awardees, either of current or previous years, who show documented
evidences at State Level of exemplary science education, working in collaboration
with peers, and mentors.
Carries a cash award of Rs.25,000/- per awardee.
Towards improving laboratory, library and ICT facilities in Schools to which the
awardee teacher(s) belong(s), and is given on showing evidence of supporting
collaborative work in science education among its teachers,
Carries cash award of Rs.25,000/- to a school per awardee teacher identified from
that school,
Towards improving laboratory and ICT facilities in local organisation that facilitates
the science and mathematics activities and collaborative interactions among teachers Carries cash award of Rs.10,000/- per awardee teacher to the local
organisation/Hub.
Towards the remuneration of individual mentors for their efforts in reaching out to the
teachers in their schools, supporting their innovative projects and mentoring them.
Carries cash award of Rs.5000/- per awardee teacher for the mentor(s).

Expected total number of awardees per year = 3,000 teachers


Total awardees in 5 years = 1,5,000 teachers
Budget per Level-2 awardee teacher = Rs.65,000/-

Level-3:
To Level-2 awardees, either of current or previous years, who show evidences of
continued exemplary practices worthy of sharing in National and International fora,
working in collaboration with peers, and mentors.
Towards registration, travel, boarding and lodging to participate in one National
education conference, on evidence of submission being accepted for presentation and
documentation in proceedings.
Towards registration, travel, boarding and lodging to participate in one international
education conference, on evidence of submission being accepted for presentation and
documentation in proceedings.
Placement for one month in a suitable R&D institution in S&T or in a science and
mathematics education institution in the country.
Funds towards awardee's travel, a maximum amount towards local boarding and

27

lodging
Funds towards contingency expenses of host institution.
The awardees to choose among given options.
They will also be eligible for selection to teacher teams for participation in
international exchange programmes.

Expected total number of awardees per year = 200 teachers


Total awardees in 5 years = 1000 teachers
Estimated budget per Level-3 awardee teacher = Rs.10,000,00/-

6.3 Identification: Creation of interaction fora


95 Crore
Documentation of work done and professional communication among peers at the local,
national and international levels are the core of the processes in the BEST Awards Scheme.
The mechanisms not only help build collaborative communities, raise the teachers' selfesteem and give them a sense of belonging to an esteemed community, the mechanisms of
sharing, they improve the transparency and credibility of the award scheme.

To the Local Hubs for Annual Local Teachers Seminar and Level-1 award
presentations, involving teachers and mentors from the jurisdiction,
Cost of Rs.3000/- per awardee teacher
Cost of Rs.5000/- per mentor
Total teachers = 30,000
Total mentors = 10,000
To the Zonal Hubs for Annual Zonal Teachers Conference and Level-2 award
presentations, involving teachers and mentors from the jurisdiction
Cost of Rs.5000/- per teacher or mentor
Total teachers and mentors expected = 10,000

6.4 Identification: Creation of BEST portal, citizen science support


1.25 Crore
Conduct of science projects through collaborative engagement with peers both locally and
distributed in other parts of the State or country makes such citizen science projects powerful
tools for nation wide science education. As given in the budget estimate, this will involve
The creation of a BEST Portal supporting teacher registration and interactions
Maintenance of the portal, through project staff, domain and supplies
Support for Citizen Science Projects
6.5 Identification: Local and Zonal meetings
21.5 Crore

28

To the Local Hubs towards Local Working Group meetings for screening of nominees
and identification of awardees and preparation for Seminar, about 3 meetings per year.
Cost of Rs.20,000/- per meeting per Hub
To the Zonal Hubs towards Zonal Working Group meetings for screening and
identification of Level-2 and Level-3 awardees, and preparation for Conference about
2 meetings per year.

BESTHBCSEOct 2013 modified for MHRD Jul2014

Cost of Rs.100,000/- per meeting per Hub


For National Working Group meetings, about 2 per year
Cost of Rs.500,000/- per meeting

6.6 Identification: Organisational cost, liaison and publicity


31.25 Crore
The BEST Awards Scheme that has to reach over 65 lakhs teachers in over 13 lakh schools,
besides institutions of higher education and S&T institutions in the country will involve
extensive publicity through all media, and a corresponding cost over 5 years (4 Crore). The
publicity cost may decrease progressively as the Scheme becomes well known.
The mechanisms of the Scheme depend on the day-today organisation like receipt of
nominations, contacting mentors and coordinating meetings, seminars, etc., documentation
and record-keeping, and managing the funds. This will need annual cost of hiring project
personnel and facility maintenance for 30 Zonal Hubs at Rs.3 Lakhs per Hub, and for 600
Local Hubs at Rs.20,000/- per Hub.
Additional cost will be needed for personnel and corresponding facilities for the Scheme in
the Apex Funding Agency.
6.7 Review
3 Crore
No Scheme can be perfect in all respects. It needs a period review and appraisal of what is
good and what can be changed. The review of the this nation wide Scheme will be initiated by
the National Working Group as and when felt needed and conducted by an agency/ committee
nominated for the purpose.
The budget estimate under each of the above heads is given in the table.

29

Budget Estimate for BEST Scheme October 2013 Modified July 2014
S.No. Main
Sub-item
A Design Workshops / Consultative
B Incentives
Level-1 Award Cash
Level-2 Award Cash to Teacher, School, Local Hub,
Mentor
Level-3 Award Opportunity, Conf participation,
Exchange Programmes
Subtotal B
C Identification: Creation of meeting fora for interactions

No. of
Units

Cost/ Unit

Annual

5 Years
15,00,000

Teacher

30000

5,000

15,00,00,000

75,00,00,000

Teacher

3000

65,000

19,50,00,000

97,50,00,000

Teacher

200

10,00,000

Unit Name

Sub-totals
15,00,000

20,00,00,000 1,00,00,00,000
2,72,50,00,000

Local Working Group meetings with teachers, Level-1


award presentations, Annual Local Teachers Seminar Teacher
Mentors to participate in Annual Seminars
Mentors
Zonal Conference with teachers, Mentors, Level-2
Teacher,
award, presentations
Mentor
Subtotal C
Identification: Creation of BEST portal, citizen science support
Creation of Portal for Teacher interaction
Maintenance Cost proj. staff, domain
Citizen Science Projects
Subtotal D
Identification cost
Local Working Group meetings 3 per year, 20,000/each
Local Hub
Zonal Working Group meetings 2 per year, 1 lakh
each
Zonal Hub
National Working Group meetings 2 per year, 5 lakhs
each
Subtotal E
Organisation, Liason & Publicity
Advertisement and Publicity
Organisational Zonal Hubs
Zonal Hub
Organisational Local Hubs
Local Hub
Organisational Apex Funding Agency
Subtotal F
Review
Grand Total
Page 30

30000
10000

3,000
5,000

9,00,00,000
5,00,00,000

45,00,00,000
25,00,00,000

10000

5,000

5,00,00,000

25,00,00,000
95,00,00,000

6,00,000
15,00,000

20,00,000
30,00,000
75,00,000
1,25,00,000

600

60,000

3,60,00,000

18,00,00,000

30

2,00,000

60,00,000

3,00,00,000

10,00,000

50,00,000
21,50,00,000

30
600

3,00,000
20,000

4,00,00,000
90,00,000
1,20,00,000
15,00,000

20,00,00,000
4,50,00,000
6,00,00,000
75,00,000
31,25,00,000
3,00,00,000
4,24,65,00,000
BEST General

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

Annexure-A
PAST SCHEMES FOR RECOGNITION OF TEACHERS
A snapshot of some of the prevailing initiatives that appear to reach out to teachers across the
country is as follows. They can be useful entry points for the engagement processes through
the BEST initiative.
1. The NCTE for pre-service training and for in-service training is the large network of
government-owned teacher training institutions (TTIs). At the National Level is the
National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), along with its six
Regional Institutes of Education (REIs), National University on Educational Planning and
Administration (NUEPA).
2. The State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), prepare modules for
teacher training and conducts specialized courses for teacher educators and school
teachers. The Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and Institutes for Advanced
Learning in Education (IASEs) provide in-service training to secondary and senior
secondary school teachers and teacher educators.
3. At the district level, in-service training is provided by the District Institutes of Education
and Training (DIETs), Block Resource Centres (BRCs) & the Cluster Resource Centres
(CRCs). Some of the important programs / schemes aligned with the NPE and the UEEE
are the Operation Black Board, Shiksha Karmi Project, Lok Jumbish Programme, Mahila
Samakhya & District Primary Education Programme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
4. The Model School Scheme launched in November 2008 aims to provide quality education
to talented rural children through setting up of 6,000 model schools as benchmark of
excellence at block level at the rate of one school per block to provide a model in
infrastructure, curriculum, evaluation and school governance & try out innovative
curriculum and pedagogy
5. Of these 3,500 schools (from 2009 10) are to be set up in as many educationally
backward blocks (EBBs) through State/UT Governments, and the remaining 2,500
schools are to be set up under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode from 2012 - 13 in
blocks which are not educationally backward.
6. The National Teachers Science Conference (NTSC) of the NCSTC provides a forum for
teachers to enhance awareness on science and science teaching. It has been active since
2003. Innovative concepts that reveal creativity in methodologies of science education are
discussed with a special emphasis on localized knowledge systems including pedagogy.
These are low-cost innovations as hands on learning process. It also aims to promote
R&D in science education and communication, measurements and feedback. NTSC is
held biennially, as the quantity and quality of teacher presentations are far below what
may be expected for a nation of over 6 million teachers. In fact the BEST Scheme aims
to set in place a process to provide incentive and academic support for a significant
proportion of teachers to contribute to innovative teaching-learning in science and
mathematics, document them, and participate in the NTSC.
CURRENT SCHEMES: ANALYSIS AND IMPLICATIONS
Several important national and state level awards processes are evident. The scope for a
specific focus on science appears to be large. A detailed analysis of the process of
nomination / application along with parameters for assessment can follow this snap shot.

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

1. The National Awards to Teachers instituted in 1958, recognizes meritorious teachers in


primary, middle and secondary schools. Some of the important parameters covered
include community development and other welfare activities in addition to innovative
teaching, text and activity tools for better learning. Request for recommendation is sent to
all Education Secretaries of States & UTs.
(a) Of the total of 374 awards, 20 awards are reserved for Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic
teachers.
(b) Each State/Union Territory/Organization has an earmarked quota based on the number
of teachers.
(c) The Scheme covers teachers of schools affiliated to CBSE including teachers of
independent affiliated schools abroad, the Council for Indian School Certificate
Examination (CISCE), Sainik School, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya
Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), the Central Tibetan School Administration (CTSA) & of the
Atomic Energy Education Society.
(d) 43 Special Awards are conferred on the teachers with disabilities working in
mainstream schools & Special teacher or trained general teachers who have done
outstanding work for Inclusive Education.
2. The National Award for Teachers for using ICT innovatively in Education was launched in
2004 (revised in 2010) This is part of the centrally sponsored scheme of ICTs in Schools.
3. The NCERT National Award for Innovative Teaching Practices is for Teachers part of the
KVS.
Some other important awards for teachers:
4. Nominations are invited for the Best Science Teacher award instituted by C.N.R. Rao
Education Foundation, Bangalore for Pre-University and High School Science Teachers.
Nominations should be forwarded through the Head of the Institution with details of
Innovative teaching methods
5. The Uttarakhand Chapter of NASI Best Science Teacher Award invites nominations from
prospective candidates serving in the State of Uttarakhand.
6. The State Council for Science, Technology & Environment, Himachal Pradesh invites
nomination for the Science Promotion Awards for school teachers every year through
advertisements in newspapers. This is for teachers working in any school of HP or retired
who has developed/propagated innovative science teaching aids/ worked for science
promotion/popularisation activities in the state during last five years.
7. The Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology recognizes every year the
outstanding research work / skill/ talent acquired and conspicuously important and
outstanding contribution. The nominating authorities include Directors of School
Education/ Head of the Institution. The Dr Radhakrishnan Award is conferred by the Satte
Department of Education for teachers in schools.
8. The Science teacher Award in Uttar Pradesh is conferred by the Council of Science &
Technology, U.P for Science teachers of Secondary Schools for educational procedures
and new educational technologies
9. Similar state level awards are conferred in Karnataka, Haryana School Education
Department National Awards for Teachers using Information and Communication
Technology for Innovation and Education-2013.
10. The Vishveshwaraiah Center in Karnataka has enabled a regional level award process for
teachers through exhibitions. While the students exhibit, the teachers are awarded for
their efforts.
11. The Karnataka State has instituted an action research award for teachers in addition to the
other award for innovative teaching. This is to foster unique practices that reduce the
burden of science learning on moving from the primary to the secondary levels.

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

Annexure-B
INSPIRE1
Three facets of the inclusive framework of INSPIRE
I. "Innovation of Science Pursuit for Inspire Research (INSPIRE)" is an inclusive
program of the Department of Science & Technology to attract young talent to science.
II. The basic objective is to help youth recognize the excitement of creative pursuit of
science. This is expected to sustain their interest to pursue higher education in science
and establish the much needed critical human resource pool to strengthen and expand
science & technology systems including research in India.
III. Access to and responses from students are driven through existing educational
structures including identification of talent.
The three mutually reinforcing components of INSPIRE to help stay in the chosen areas of
science are
1. Scheme for Early Attraction of Talents for Science (SEATS),
2. Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE), and
3. Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC).
The details of the INSPIRE scheme
10,000 scholarships are available annually under SHE.
The scholarships are limited only to candidates studying courses in natural/ basic
sciences after their school finals (Post 12th Class).
The Scheme in its current format does not include courses in engineering, medicine,
technology and other professional / technical / applied science courses.
Selected candidates will be supported for a maximum of five years.
The Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC) offers
Doctoral INSPIRE Fellowship in the age group 22-27 years, in both Basic and Applied
sciences (including engineering and medicine).
Opportunities for post-doctoral researchers through contractual and tenure track
positions for five years in both Basic and Applied sciences areas through an INSPIRE
Faculty Scheme.
It is also observed that
All four Science Academies should convince the scientific community to collectively
invest time and resources to make the programme a success.
INSPIRE can be organized using a Network or Tree Structure especially to cover
SEATS and SHE components & Nodal centres such as IISERs. IITs, Central
Universities with sizeable expertise to cover all disciplines be identified to co-ordinate
with schools and colleges to run summer and winter camps.
DST support INSPIRE cells at Nodal centres to draw in faculty.
INSPIRE centres co-ordinate activities in local schools and colleges for age groups 10
17 and 17 22, drawing upon SCERTs, formulate proposals for running camps and
to provide assistance for student selections.
An important aim should be to make good quality science education accessible to
children in rural and poorly connected areas of the country, which account for about
70% of all children in the 11 to 15 age group.
1

submitted by Vigyan Prasar

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

THE NCSTC INITIATIVE


The NCSTC endeavours to (1) Communicate Science and Technology, (2) Stimulate
Scientific and Technological temper & (3) Coordinate and steer such efforts. The objective is
to create excitement concerning advances in Science & Technology, to enable informed
decision-making at the grass roots level & encourage intelligent debate on developmental
issues.
The nine important approaches of the NCSTC include
1. Research in thrust areas of science and technology communication;
2. Development of scripts, films, video and radio programmes, books, slide sets, etc., on
selected areas of science and technology
3. Training (short term) for school teachers and activists of science & technology based
voluntary organisations in science communication;
4. Development of science journalists through University Courses in Science and
Technology Communication;
5. Awards and recognition for outstanding science communicators;
6. Coordination with state councils and networks of S& T based organisations;
7. Developing capacity through science communication
8. Field programmes for demonstrating innovative ideas of science popularisation, outreach
and extension activities including National Children's Science Congress, Science Day
celebrations, promotion of voluntary blood donation programmes, environmental
awareness and positive action, etc., &
9. Promoting International Cooperation for mutual benefit.
Important initiatives that have succeeded across the country include science news and features
service, weekly frequency Annotated bibliographies of popular science books in all regional
languages, bilingual monthly newsletter, radio serials, Vigyan Chetna Jathas in 50000
locations with the support of 2500 organisations, Sensitization of school science teachers
during year of scientific Awareness, Public Awareness Campaign for Total Solar Eclipse in
1995 and 1999 and Transit of Venus, Popularising Modern Science through a national
campaign based on discoveries.
NCSTC is engaged in Skill Building Programmes for Science Teachers and Activists of
Science Based Voluntary Organizations. The seven approaches are to
1. Develop and use low cost science teaching / learning aids
2. Learn to demonstrate science behind so-called miracles
3. Use origami for teaching concepts in primary and middle school maths
4. Fun with high school physics through aeromodelling
5. Demonstrate principles of flight - use multi stage rockets
6. Detect food adulterants through high school level chemistry
7. Popularizing construction and maintenance skills under work experience for high school
students
Training of Science Communicators is through
Skill enhancement of promising science writers (1 week);
Communicating science using folk media (1 week);
Use of mass media for science popularisation (3 months);
Post Graduate Courses in universities in mass communication and science journalism (18
to 24 months).

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

VIGYAN JATHAS AND PEOPLE'S SCIENCE MOVEMENTS


The efforts of some of the People Science Movements
(a) Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi (23 states / > 10,000 villages of India) as part of the
Peoples Science Movement through the total literacy programmes, includes activities
on continuing education, school education, etc.
The Jan Vachan Programme makes reading material aligned with the Nation Wide
Literacy campaigns and to foster a culture of reading generate reading culture in the
villages. These materials include guide / reference books / titles / posters / CDs and
communication through Kalajathas.
The Peoples Science Movements science communication Jathas on focused themes
involving more than 40 organisations in 20 States / 18,000 villages / 300 districts
involving teachers, students, scientists and professionals
(b) Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad and its related Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, the All India
Peoples Science Conference .
(c) Tamil Nadu Science Forum with its network of over 600 teachers / resource people
who can train teachers problems with math teaching in primary schools, low cost
science experiments, health education. The VCDs boost field programs. TNSF
developed a mass literacy campaign in villages involving teachers and 200,000
learners. The focus of TNSF is now to integrate and expand ideas that have worked. In
education these are innovative teaching methods, libraries for women and rural IT
centers.
(d) The Pondicherry Science Forum & the Gujarat Vigyan Sabha
(e) Jnan Vigyan Pratibha Pariksha of Vijnana Bharati as a talent search examination
(f) I CONSENT including Virtual School and Learning Homes as part of the Generating
Mass Movement for Creating Quality School Education For All (QSEFA)
http://wikieducator.org/images/6/6d/PID_566.pdf
(g) The Science Writers Association of India Sahoo & Pattanaik present a comprehensive
overview of the PSMs from a social movements perspective.

BEST DPR HBCSE DRAFT October 2013

Annexure-C
List of Institutions and Organisations in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa that are examples of
Zonal Hubs, Local Hubs or Partners of these Hubs.
Potential Zonal Hubs
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

SCERT, Pune
SISE, Nagpur
Gujarat Science Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
SCERT, Goa
NIO, Goa

Potential Local Hubs


1.
2.
3.
4.

DIETs
IIE, Pune
Raman Science Centre, Nagpur
IISER, Pune

Partners
1. HBCSE, Mumbai
2. IIT, Mumbai
3. Universities, Colleges
4. Vikram Sarabhai Community Centre, Rajkot
5. PRATHAM Training Centres in Maharashtra
6. Jidyasa Trust
7. Navi Mumbai Science Foundation
8. Rayat Shikshan Sanstha, Satara
9. Shivaji Shikshan Sanstha, Amravati
10. Exploratory, Pune