ASPIRING TEACHERS NOW HAVE TO CLEAR AN ENTRANCE TEST BEFORE THEY BECOME ELIGIBLE TO TEACH OTHERS.SOME SEE IT AS A MOVE TO IMPROVE TEACHING STANDARDS,WHILE OTHERS FEEL IT WILL PUSH PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS OUT OF THE SYSTEM
FROM 2011, aspiring teachers will have to clear the State Teaching Eligibility Test (STET) for recruitment in schools that come under the RTE Act. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), the authority for teacher education under the RTE, will notify the compulsory STET decision, soon after it is examined by the HRD ministry.
The objective is two-fold, says Mohammad Akhtar Siddiqui, chairperson, NCTE, elaborating: “This will help in getting not only quality teachers but will also motivate the teacher training institutes to produce quality students who can clear STET.” He further states that “NCTE will lay down detailed guidelines for states to follow. The design and structure of the test would be the same across the country, but the content and language would be regional.”
So will teacher training institutes like District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) now have a greater responsibility to churn out graduates who can clear STET? To this, Rashmi Krishnan, director, SCERT, says: “DIETs as such follows a prescribed curriculum. And if the system needs to be revamped, the curriculum too would need to be revised.” Anything that will benefit the system in the long run is a welcome move, she added.
In fact, the test should be made compulsory even for the in-service teachers, feels R P Malik, chairman, Federation of Public Schools. He adds: “To improve the quality of teachers in schools, this test should be made mandatory for even existing teachers to evaluate themselves. And if a teacher fails to clear the test, he or she should be given a chance to re-appear for the test and shouldn’t be given any increment unless they clear the test. This will help in improving the quality of even the in-service teachers further improving the overall education system.”
QUALITY IN THE SYSTEM
This move will help to get quality into the system, feels Deepak Dahiya, PGT, Delhi Government School and a CBSE examiner. He says: “This will particularly help in improving the quality of teachers in government schools and raise the overall standard of education in the country.”
The BEd, which was earlier a oneyear course, will now be made a twoyear course. Besides, the diploma in education will be completely phased out, informed Siddiqui. He elaborates: “Many students right after school pursue a diploma in education and further when they are absorbed by schools, they fail to meet the expectations of schools.
Thus, preference should be given to graduates who are better qualified. In a way, we want to upgrade the qualification of school teachers leading to quality education.”
But in a country where there is a shortage of 11 lakh teachers, won’t the new system be a disadvantage, questions R C Jain, president, Delhi State Public schools Management Association.
He argues: “This is like a screening process and would be useful in getting quality teachers in schools. But we are ignoring the fact that if we are bringing in 88 lakh quality teachers, we are pushing some 1.5 crore teachers out of the system, so is it justified?”
He further adds: “Traditionally, teaching jobs were in demand because of flexible working hours, but now, it has been increased to 45 per week. Secondly, there is no job security and lastly, pay packages are not commensurate with those offered in corporate jobs, hence, the profession isn’t attracting many youngsters these days. In such a situation, efforts should have been made to upgrade the quality of existing teachers and bring in more, instead of creating a system of screening teachers.”
NCTE also decided that those with BEd and diploma in special education from the Rehabilitation Council of India would be given jobs in regular schools after a six-month orientation course in elementary education to increase the number of teachers.
At present, only Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh conduct entrance exams for schoolteacher’s job.