Uncertainty over test for school teachers -Basant Kumar Mohanty
New Delhi: Tens of thousands of would-be schoolteachers have been left in the lurch with the Central Teacher Eligibility Test, usually held twice a year, not being conducted at all this year because of a pending guidelines revision.
Although the states too hold their own Teacher Eligibility Tests, it's the central test alone that facilitates the selection of elementary teachers at central schools such as the Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas and government schools in the Union territories, including Delhi.
A BEd degree holder from Odisha who has been undergoing coaching for the test in Delhi said his preparations over the past six months now risked going waste.
"I hope the test will be held next year, at least. The number of candidates will be very high, though, because of the delay. This will reduce each candidate's chances of qualifying," he said.
Class XII pass-outs with a Diploma in Elementary Education and graduates with a BEd degree can take the test and secure a certificate making them eligible to teach students till Class VIII at government and private schools. (There are no public exams for eligibility to teach higher classes, with BEd holders recruited mostly through direct interviews at the school level.)
Sources in the Central Board of Secondary Education, which has been conducting the test in May and September every year since 2012, blamed the delay on the National Council of Teacher Education, the teacher education regulator.
"They are yet to issue the revised guidelines. We have been waiting for a response," a senior board official said.
Council sources could not say when the guidelines would be ready, a process that involves consultations with the Union human resource development ministry.
They said the guideline revision had become necessary because of issues such as poor success rates in the test and the World Bank's citation of several flaws in the test.
Another problem was some rural private schools' tendency to bypass the test and directly recruit teachers for elementary classes, taking advantage of loopholes in the language of the guidelines, they said.
"The revised guidelines will unambiguously state that the test, mandated by the Right to Education Act, is compulsory for would-be teachers up to Class VIII," a council source said.
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The Telegraph, 24 October, 2017, https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/uncertainty-over-test-for-schoolteachers-180630