While all the inputs listed in the preceding paragraph are crucial, the last two are especially so. About teachers, the Education Commission (1964-66) had observed, “of all the factors that influence the quality of education… the quality, competence and character of teachers are undoubtedly the most significant”. But these in turn depend substantially on the quality of training and other support provided to them. The importance of the last input mentioned in the preceding para viz. academic and resource support-can therefore hardly be over-emphasized. Until the adoption of the NPE, this support in the area of elementary education was being provided largely at the national and State levels only by institutions like NCERT, NIEPA and SCERTs. Likewise in the area of adult education, this support was being provided by the Central Directorate of Adult Education at the national level, and by State Resource Centres (SRCs) at the State level. Below the State level, there were elementary teacher education institutions but their activities were confined mostly to pre-service teacher education. The physical, human and academic resources of most of the institutions were inadequate even for this limited role. They also tended to adopt teaching practices, which were not in consonance with the ones they prescribed to prospective teachers. There were certain larger problems as well e.g. courses of study being out-dated.
By the time of adoption of the NPE, elementary and adult education systems were already too vast to be adequately supported by national and State level agencies alone. The NPE implied their further expansion as also considerable qualitative improvement. Provision of support to them in a decentralized manner had therefore become imperative. The NPE and POA accordingly envisaged addition of a third-district level-tier to the support system in the shape of District institutes of Education and Training (DIETs). With this, expectation would be of wider quantitative coverage as well as qualitatively better support as these Institutes would be closer to the field, and therefore more alive to its problems and needs.
Pursuant to the provisions of NPE on teacher education, a centrally sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganization of Teacher Education was approved in October 1987. One of the five components of the Scheme was establishment of DIETs. Draft guidelines for implementing the DIET component were circulated to States in October 1987 and have, together with certain subsequent circulars, formed the basis for its implementation so far. Till October 1989, Central assistance had been sanctioned under the Scheme for setting up a total of 216 DIETs in the country.
The present document purports to consolidate, amplify and revise the existing guidelines in regard to DIETs. With this, all earlier guidelines on the subject would stand superseded.