The Role of the Indigenous Knowledge System in Teacher Education and its Relevance to the National Educational Policy 2020

Academic Paper, 2022

14 Pages, Grade: A


Table of contents


1. Introduction

2. Literature review
2.1. Research in India
2.2. Research in Australia
2.3. Canadian Research
2.4. Research in USA

3. Research methodology
3.1 Teachers’ profile

4. Analysis of results

5. Discussion and conclusion



The present paper is an attempt to find out how far the indigenous knowledge is helpful in the teacher education relating it with the National Educational Policy 2020. Formal and informal interviews have been conducted through both online and physical modes from different parts of India. Some of these teachers have been teaching in schools and the others in the universities for the local as well as the non-local students. Teachers’ opinion is analysed qualitatively. Research review from different parts of the World is considered.Through research analysis and literature review, it has been found that indigenous and modern knowledge, both are essential in teacher education. As the NEP-2020 envisions the holistic and inclusive education system, teachers also should have holistic education in different aspects of education to meet the demands of indigenous students.Students’ indigenous knowledge is helpful for the educational system, since the traditional knowledge system is the cumulative knowledge system from several generations of native people.The newly acquired indigenous knowledge is very helpful in teachers’ day-to-day teaching for natives, since it promotes the cultural and communicative competence.

Key words: indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge, tribal education, National Educational Policy-2020, teacher education, etc.,

1. Introduction

“Indigenous people or things belong to the country in which they are found, rather than coming there or being brought there from another country” (Collins, 2022). Local or native people, who are living in their own community for a long period of time, can be indigenous people.

“Knowledgegainedthroughtraditionoranecdote”;“earlypeoplespassedonplantandanimallorethroughlegend” is traditional knowledge (the free dictionary, 2019).Indigenous or traditional or local knowledge are synonymous with one another.

Traditional knowledge systems have almost continuously evolved through ample experience and thought (Kelly et al, 2009). If educators and policy-makers are open, they can learn a great deal from ‘indigenous knowledges’ and advocacy efforts (Jacob et al., 2018). The traditional knowledge is passed on continuously for several successive generations - the cumulative knowledge. Some of the knowledge, a student is having;a teacher may not have and which is essential for the teacher to explore in teaching further.If teachers are exposed to the local knowledge, they can better help the students’ learning.

Teacher education needs to be holistic that is, a teacher should have a potential student’s knowledge and something more for the sustainable teaching.Thus, apart from the modern knowledge, a teacher also needs to possess traditional knowledge.

Teacher education → student’s knowledge + teacher’s knowledge


Teacher education →traditional knowledge + modern knowledge

Teaching is a cultural exercise, embedded in at least one particular knowledge system and one particular set of values (Kelly et al, 2009).Thus, it would be difficult to deal with the students of the other cultures.

Some salient features of National Educational Policy-2020, which are relevant for the present study:

- Recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizingteachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic andnon-academic spheres.
- respect for diversity and respect for the local context in all curriculum, pedagogy, and policy,always keeping in mind that education is a concurrent subject;
- full equity and inclusion as the cornerstone of all educational decisions to ensure that allstudents are able to thrive in the education system;
- a rootedness and pride in India, and its rich, diverse, ancient and modern culture andknowledge systems and traditions (NEP, 2020).

The vision of the National Educational Policy-2020 includes“Quality higher education must aim to develop good, thoughtful, well-rounded, and creativeindividuals” (NEP, 2020). To fulfill this vision, teachers are to be creative, diverse, well-equipped with the holistic knowledge.

2. Literature review

Research from different parts of World has been considered in the following paragraphs

2.1. Research in India

Honwad’s (2019) study demonstrates how youth in rural communities of the middle Himalayas use traditional knowledge to support environmental decisions, negotiate a balance between traditional and Western or modern knowledge, and apply knowledge in decision making.

The youths’ underdeveloped conceptual ecology with respect to environmental problem solving is certainly going to hamper their decision making. Thus, to close the gap between formal and informal learning and empower youth to make environmentally sound decisions about their local environment in the future, curriculum designers need to realign some of the content in the curriculum with the current environmental situation of the Kumaon Himalayas (Honwad, 2018). Re-shaping the curriculum is essential to utilize the natives’ knowledge and ultimately to benefit both students and teachers. It is noteworthy that though traditional knowledge is important in teacher education, the modern knowledge is equally important.

Several constraints are imposed, while dealing with the tribal education: since tribal knowledge is not considered in the modern education system. But, the New Educational Policy-2020 has given the top priority for the native knowledge. Manojan(2018) opines that the study, which has been conducted in Wayanad district of Kerala among the Paniya tribe, the denigration of indigenous knowledge is a product of a dominant power exercised over the knowledge regime which has serious implication over the tribal children. When concerns the domain of Indian tribal education it can be seen that, along with the negligence of their traditional knowledge and culture the schools themselves as a platform caters a wide range of constraints against an effective learning process.

2.2. Research in Australia

The research was designed to expose to indigenous educators to ultimately improve the system using indigenous knowledge.The data analysis has been done and presented from an Indigenous point of view, to include the voices of nativesin the field of education. These voices provided innovative knowledge and powerful statements about a way forward, finally, to improve the lives of indigenous people through an updated education system (Woodroffe, 2019). Most of the syllabus designers have neglected the indigenous knowledge. But, several studies from different parts of the World have proved that, the modern education system needs to be updated with the indigenous knowledge, which is similar to the research in Woodroffe’s (2019) study in Australia.

2.3. Canadian Research

The Western (Canadian) knowledge system has a parallel structure in knowledge. Pre-service students as teachers will encounter many other knowledge systems and ways of being among their students, peers, and future teaching colleagues. During their undergraduate years, students should be taught to recognize, articulate, and integrate a basic respect and acknowledgment of these realities into their own views and practices as successful contemporary teachers (Kelly et al, 2009). Modern knowledge system is a single knowledge system, whereas, traditional knowledge is the combination of different knowledge systems. Thus, the traditional knowledge should be given with high regard in the present education system.

2.4. Research in USA

The changes and implementation of curriculum entirely depends on education policies, which are mainly influenced by political orientations and, thus, political influence should be used to get content of indigenous knowledge integrated appropriately and implemented in the school curriculum. The relevance of the knowledge to be integrated in the curriculum was also highlighted as a major principle. Selection and grading of content of indigenous knowledge to be integrated in the school curriculum should take into account the learners’ developmental stages and grades. The level of difficulty of the knowledge concept should be put into consideration while placing knowledge into curriculum in order to comprehend learning (Ronoh, 2017).

Jacob et al. (2018) propose for the necessity of indigenous knowledges in furthering indigenous self-determination in public schools, apart from furthering the broad aims of public education. Getting attention to past efforts throughout the United States to change the public school curriculum and analyzing data from testimonies given at Oregon State Legislature Hearings, Indigenous Knowledgesprovide an important resource for educating all students responsibly and developing relationships within and across communities.

3. Research methodology

Teachers’ interviews have been conducted both the ways; formally and informally. Informal interviews have been conducted orally and over phone.Structured questionnaires also have been circulated through Google forms.The collected data has been analysed qualitatively. The analysed data has been compared and contrasted with the literature support and relating it with the National EducationalPolicy-2020.

Apart from the opinion of teachers from different parts of India, a thorough research review has been done. In this research review, research from various parts of the World has been considered and summarised.

3.1 Teachers’ profile

Teachers, who have participated in this study, are distributed throughout India.Teachers, who have participated in this research, are teaching in the schools as well as higher education.Some of them are teaching only for the tribal students. Some of them are teacher educators.The remaining teachers are dealing with the students from various backgrounds and not exclusively for the tribal children.


Excerpt out of 14 pages


The Role of the Indigenous Knowledge System in Teacher Education and its Relevance to the National Educational Policy 2020
English for Engineers
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
Received two international awards as a Faculty Advisor for managing an International Student Chapter, IEOM, USA in 2021 and 2017.
role, indigenous, knowledge, system, teacher, education, relevance, national, educational, policy
Quote paper
Dr. Pratibha Mallu (Author), 2022, The Role of the Indigenous Knowledge System in Teacher Education and its Relevance to the National Educational Policy 2020, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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