Most schools in the city are busy preparing their students for academic year’s first set of unit tests. While students are grappling with notes and assignments, school managements have worries of their own. They are dealing with the possibility of having to give up on teachers in their staff who hold a Diploma in Education (D Ed).
The state education department has given these teachers three years within which to pass the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), which most have not cleared. This has left schools in a fix, with the government already having stopped paying the salaries for these teachers.
The three-year window within which to pass the TET ends next year. “We are falling short of five teachers, all D Ed pass. When these teachers were hired, there was no problem. But the government has very recently made it mandatory for them to pass the TET, which is a very difficult exam.
Till they pass the test, they will not be officially appointed by the education department,” said Fr Jude Fernandes, principal of St Stanislaus High School in Bandra. The department has already stopped paying salaries to these teachers.
The school management is pumping out funds from its own coffers to pay these teachers their salaries. “The teachers are worried because their posts have still not been approved,” he added. While the managements of some schools have ensured that these teachers don’t lose their jobs, not all schools can afford to pay their salaries.
“Our teachers have been working without pay for the past few months. We have requested the management to consider their case, as they are also preparing for the TET this year. But, till then, the teachers have no option but to continue working without pay. It is unfair to them,” said the principal of a school in Sion.
TET was introduced in states across the country, in order to improve the quality of teaching in schools, especially after the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. According to this test, teachers will be tested on child development, pedagogy and two languages. Knowledge of mathematics and environmental studies will be checked for those wanting to be posted in primary classes (till Std V).
Those wanting to teach senior students will be tested on the subject they would like to teach. It is a multiple-choice question-answer test, which teachers have to complete in 90 minutes. In 2012, only 0.4 per cent teachers across the country had managed to pass the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET).
“Teachers need to score a minimum of 60% in this test, which is very difficult for most. The education department had given them three years in which to finish this course, which ends next year. Schools are in a fix right now, as most teachers are yet to clear this exam,” said Fr Francis Swamy, coordinator of the Jesuit Group of Schools.
He added that most schools are currently managing to pay salaries of teachers with D Ed, but if teachers don’t clear the test soon, they might face problems.