New Delhi: The HRD Ministry on Wednesday launched the National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancements (NISHTHA) here aimed at training over 42 lakh teachers across the country.The basic objective of the massive training programme is to motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said at the launch."The teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to learning outcomes, competency based learning and testing, learner-centered pedagogy, school safety and security, personal-social qualities," he said."Inclusive education, ICT in teaching-learning, including artificial intelligence, health and well-being, initiatives in school education, including library, eco club, youth club, kitchen garden, school leadership qualities, environmental concerns, pre-school, pre-vocational education and school-based assessment in a joyful learning manner, are among the areas that will be covered in the training," he added.The training will be conducted directly by 33,120 key resource persons (KRPs) and state resource persons (SRPs) chosen by the state and UTs, who will in turn be trained by 120 national resource persons identified from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), KendriyaVidyalayaSangathan (KVS), NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti (NVS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and NGOs."It was observed that the expectation from teachers in the present day is different and includes many new attributes. Teachers today are also expected to be aware of the provisions regarding gender, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act," the HRD minister said."The integrated programme, therefore, seeks to train all heads and teachers as first level counsellors to be alert and responsive to the needs of the students, in addition to promoting joyful learning and taking special care of the requirements of special children," he said.Some of the features of the integrated programme are activity-based modules, including educational games and quizzes, social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, etc.