Experts seek to improve teachers' training after dismal TET results

With merely 2.5% passing the Teacher Eligibility Test across the state, education experts now intend to help train candidates better and help them prepare for the mandatory exam

This year, only 2.5% teachers managed to clear the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) across the state, forcing education experts to sit up and take notice of the failing standards of teacher training and school education in Maharashtra.

Experts said the dismal results highlighted the poor training the teaching candidates had received and they now intend to hold special sessions to better prepare them. File pic for representation
Experts said the dismal results highlighted the poor training the teaching candidates had received and they now intend to hold special sessions to better prepare them. File pic for representation

The dismal results has raised doubts over how well the teachers are really being trained, and experts now plan to hold workshops and other special sessions to help aspirants clear this mandatory examination. “Last year too the pass percentage was only 5% and this year it stands at a pitiable 2.5%, which is unacceptable.

In the previous year, we heard of workshops being held across the city for interested candidates, but none of these workshops are working, because the results are worse this year,” said Najma Kazi, principal of Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls High School at Mumbai Central.

As a senior member of the Urdu Headmasters’ Association, Kazi discussed this matter with the other members as well, and they have collectively decided to conduct training programmes for teachers to help them tackle this exam. “We also need to find out from the TET council as to what constitutes the syllabus for the exam and why are papers so difficult altogether,” she added.

Principals are also planning to contact BEd institutes to include special sessions on TET preparation for teachers, while others are considering asking BEd schools in the city to make changes in the curriculum to ensure trainees are prepared for the test. However, some experts have pointed out that the TET is based on the existing BEd curriculum itself, and the fault lies in the way the candidates are being trained to learn by rote.

“Teachers only need to understand the concepts and then apply the same in the questions asked in the test, which they are failing to do. Not only does this raise questions about the quality of training, but also over what exactly is being taught in BEd schools,” said Arundhati Chavan, president of PTA United Forum, adding that the onus is on teachers who need to go beyond textbooks to do well in the test as well as their careers.

All are agreed on one point, however: the TET has not only highlighted the poor quality of teacher training, it also forces teachers to think outside the textbooks and apply theories and concepts in daily teaching. In fact, many principals are upset that the government no longer seems to require existing teachers to take the test as well.

When the Right to Education (RTE) Act was implemented in Maharashtra in 2010, it had made the TET compulsory for all teachers. However, since last year, the state has been letting existing teachers off the hook and has only insisted that new applicants clear the test to be eligible for a job.

“Earlier when the education department had made the TET compulsory for all teachers, we could at least ensure that our school teachers were undergoing some training and we prepared them for the test. Since the TET is only compulsory for new teachers now, most of our teachers are not even attempting the test,” said the principal of a school in Santacruz.

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