The Subject Teacher Forum (STF) is an “in-service teacher education” programme for high school teachers in Karnataka was started in 2010-11 by Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) Karnataka, in collaboration with IT for Change. The STF focuses on integrating ICTs for teacher professional development (TPD) as well as for teaching-learning processes in classrooms. The key components of this programme include digital literacy, building collaborative networks of teachers for learning and sharing, with an online component called Subject Teacher Forums, and integrating digital methods (tools and resources) for teaching-learning and resource creation.
Over the last four years, ITfC has trained around 500 Government High School teachers in mathematics, science, english and social science, as master trainers to integrate ICTs for teacher professional development. ITfC has also trained around a 100 head teachers, as master trainers, to integrate ICTs for school leadership. These master trainers have trained around 6,000 of their colleagues across the state of Karnataka. All participants have become member of the subject wise virtual forums and are actively sharing ideas, resources, insights and seeking support. The mailing groups have crossed more than 35,000 emails so far, this would perhaps make this the largest programme of its kind in the world (where more than 6,600 teachers in a single geography are forming communities of learning and are in regular interactions with one another for continuing professional development). The virtual forums are created and maintained by ITfC, working closely with RMSA.
The STF is in the nature of a systemic and system-wide programme. It is funded, almost entirely through the in-service teacher-education budget of RMSA, it is designed in collaboration with RMSA and DSERT. The DIETs (District Institutes of Education and Training) and CTEs (Colleges of Teacher Education) are implementing the district cascade workshops in their on ICT labs, fully equipped with the required software and digital resources. The STF aims to demonstrate, how, using the existing personnel, budgets and infrastructure of the teacher-education system in a state, new models of teacher-education can be implemented which are in line with the NCFTE vision of 'need-based, self-directed, self-paced and continuous professional development', which supports seeking, sharing and mentoring. The STF aims at providing a blended model (employing ICT and non-ICT methods) of teacher-education. By supporting interactions between novice and experienced teachers, as well as with teacher-educators, this model seeks to provide peer-learning and mentoring opportunities.