Despite clearly stated eligibility norms decided by a central government-run regulatory body, eight state government-run teachers’ training colleges in Odisha are running with unqualified faculty members, and several posts are lying vacant. Several teachers do not have a B.Ed degree – yet they are teaching students with B.Ed. courses. These colleges train students to become teachers by providing them with intensive training in various subjects and teaching methods, including practical lessons.
“If future teachers are themselves trained by under-qualified teachers, you can imagine what quality of teaching they will give to coming generations of students,” rued Dr Jitendra Sharma, a retired teacher from Rajasthan, who discovered this sorry state of affairs through a series of inquiries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
These eight colleges are the only government-run colleges that provide B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees in Odisha. Consequently, they are highly valued and considered premier institutions. Details of faculty strength and qualification status are summarized in the table below:
This is one sign of the kind of anarchy and floating of norms that is taking place in teachers’ training colleges in many places. There are reports of colleges inviting guest lecturers after walk-in interviews, whereas the norms clearly say full time and qualified faculty needs to be appointed. Craft instructors for tailoring and woodwork have been appointed by affiliating Universities even though these areas are not prescribed for teaching! The crucial role these colleges play in society, by training teachers who will teach hundreds of students in their career, is thus getting undermined.
WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY NORMS?
Teachers’ training colleges are regulated by an all India regulatory body, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), under the Ministry of Education, with headquarters in Delhi. It is the final and only authority that recognizes such colleges based on a set of detailed eligibility conditions for teachers and other criteria, including physical space available in the college, eligibility of students, equipment availability, and various aspects. NCTE functions through four Regional Committees – Northern, Western, Eastern and Southern. Odisha comes under the Eastern Regional Committee (ERC).
Eligibility conditions for teachers to be appointed in teachers’ training colleges are given in Sec.5.2 of the regulations notified in the Gazette in 2014. They state the following:
In plain language, what these norms say is that teachers must have a post-graduate degree and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree OR, for (B) above, a post-graduate degree in education (MA (Ed) ) and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree. In all of the above degrees, the applicant must have 55% marks at least.
For specialized courses like Physical Education, Visual Arts and Performing Arts, the eligibility conditions are:
The RTI queries revealed that several teachers in these colleges did not fulfill these conditions. Besides, most colleges do not have teachers in Physical Education, Visual Arts or Performing Arts. It is a condition that such teachers must be appointed for colleges to receive recognition from NCTE.
HOW HAS NCTE RECOGNISED SUCH COLLEGES?
The back story of this bizarre state of affairs is even more shocking. In 2020, the recognition of these colleges was canceled by the Regional Committee for precisely such and other violations of the norms. As happens in these cases, the colleges were asked to rectify the violations if they wanted their recognition restored.
consequently, the colleges applied for restoration of recognition in July 2021. Documents show that the proforma details of the faculty they submitted were still deficient. Yet, the Regional Committee appears to have turned a blind eye to these violations and granted restoration of recognition in August 2021. All this is a matter of record.
In short, the NCTE, through its regional committee, has authorized the colleges to function even though they violate NCTE’s own norms that are published in the government Gazette and thus have the force of law.
How this turnaround happened and why – nobody knows. Meanwhile, the colleges will continue to utilize the services of the unqualified teachers to produce teachers who will go on to teach hundreds of students in the coming years.
Dr Sharma says that this kind of violation reportedly happens in other places too. He attributed this to “political maneuvering”.
“This is a man-made fiasco. All agencies, which are expected to assure adherence to the regulations, have deliberately turned their eyes away. The recognition must immediately be withdrawn, and those involved in the restoration of recognition and granting affiliation must be taken to the task,” Sharma said.