Over 5 lakh untrained teachers employed in schools: Govt

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How can students in states like Bihar and West Bengal score good marks in exams when they are being taught by untrained teachers? Yes, you read it right. Untrained teachers! And by untrained, we mean those teachers who are yet to acquire the minimum qualifications, as prescribed by the NCTE (National Council for Teacher Education). As per government, there are 2,34,819 untrained teachers in West Bengal and 98,351 in Bihar working in government and government-aided schools at elementary level (primary and upper primary), as on March 31, 2015.

These shocking facts were revealed by Union Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha in Parliament recently while answering a question whether or not the government was aware about a large number of untrained teachers working in government schools across the country. Replying to the question, the minister is quoted by The Indian Express report, “The state government and UTs have reported a total of 5,11,679 teachers as on March 31, 2015, working in government and government-aided schools at elementary level (primary and upper primary) who need to acquire the minimum qualifications, as prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education.”

As per reports, 2,48,209 untrained teachers are yet to be enrolled while 2,63,470 are undergoing training.

“As states have reported that in-service untrained teachers still exist at elementary level, the central government has initiated the process of amending the RTE Act 2009 to extend the period available for such training by March 31, 2019,” he said in The Indian Express report.

SC quashes appointment of 1.78 lakh teachers in UP

Meanwhile, in another development, the Supreme Court of India quashed appointment of 1.78 lakh teachers in junior schools in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The court took the decision after it found that the teachers (shiksha mitras) lacked the adequate qualifications as fixed by the centre under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

“We are unable to agree that even unqualified teachers ought to be allowed to continue ignoring the legislative mandate or that we should exercise our jurisdiction under Article 142 to undo the said mandate. Consideration for career of 1.78 lakh Shiksha Mitras, over and above their legal right, cannot be at the cost of fundamental right of children to free quality education by duly qualified teachers in terms of legislative mandate,” the court said in a report published in The Times of India.

Shiksha mitras, having minimum qualification of intermediate, were appointed in 1999 by the then UP government to raise awareness about education and help the villagers in getting their children enrolled in schools. As per NCTE, only those who qualify Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) can be appointed as teacher in school. However, in 2014, the Samajwadi Party government in UP amended the teaching rules thus giving exemption to shiksha mitras from TET and regularising their jobs as teachers.

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