The term para teacher covers a range of things encouraged to teach in schools where there are several teachers and alternative learning centers or educational training centers. The use of para teachers in primary education began on a large scale in the late 1970s with the introduction of the centrally funded NFE program. But the use of secondary teachers in mainstream primary schools did not begin until the 1980s, the first initiative being the Himachal Pradesh Government’s Volunteer Teacher Program in 1984. These semi-teacher programs were started in the context of the state’s efforts to universalize primary education, especially after NEP. In recent years, especially after the initiation of DPEP, there has been a significant increase in the number of semi-teacher programs. Almost all educationally backward countries have developed tutoring schemes. In some cases, the recruitment of para teachers is seen as a temporary strategy to supply sufficient numbers of teachers without compromising on quality. In other cases, the intermediate teacher program is envisioned to continue with regular teachers, although there may be opportunities for individuals to move from the first category to the second. There is also a tendency to deviate from the previous system of teacher recruitment, with states choosing to appoint teachers only by contract, through panchayats. The para teacher helps students to get an education where there is a need for proper education.
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