RL Saharia Government College, Kaladera, Jaipur. | Image Courtesy: EasyShiksha.com
A piquant situation has arisen in Rajasthan where the Congress-led state government appears to be going against its own party’s manifesto by pushing for recognition of the five teachers’ training (TT) colleges in apparent violation of norms laid down by the regulatory body, National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE). Academics and educationists are worried that this continues the policy of the erstwhile BJP-led state government of playing fast and loose with teachers’ training colleges, which ultimately affects quality of education in schools.
On October 26, 2018, after a long-drawn process, recognition of the five government-run TT colleges in Rajasthan was withdrawn by the Northern Regional Committee of NCTE because they violated diverse norms. These violations included infrastructural issues as well as the crucial matter of faculty shortage. The violations are summarised below:
Violations were identified based on Clause 5.1 of Appendix 4 of the NCTE Regulations 2014, which says that it is mandatory for a teacher education institution to have 16 full-time faculty members for running two units of B.Ed. course, and Clause 6.1 of the same which says that it is mandatory for a teacher education institution to have a built-up area of 2000 square m for running two Units of B.Ed. course.
The Regional Committee is empowered to withdraw the recognition of an institution for B.Ed. course u/s 17 of the NCTE Act 1993. All Withdrawal Orders were submitted by NCTE to the Rajasthan High Court which is hearing the matter concerning such violations (Writ Contempt petition No. 1047/2017; Dr. Daya Dave vs Rakhana Upadhyay and Ors).
And yet, the new Congress-led state government has initiated a move for restoring the recognition as shown by a letter sent by the state government’s Directorate of Higher Education to NCTE headquarters in Delhi. The letter which has been reviewed by NewsClick states that the missing 80 teachers for these colleges will be transferred from other colleges in the state. It also says that infrastructural gaps do not actually exist because these B.Ed. courses are being run in tandem with other courses in multi-disciplinary (general) colleges which will share their facilities with B.Ed. students/teachers.
Experts allege that this is a sleight of hand because teachers’ training colleges need to have separate establishments with their own infrastructure. Besides, the transfer of untrained teachers from other colleges, who have not gone through the rigorous recruitment process laid down for teachers’ training faculty will be damaging for the students, and for the future of education in the state.
Educationists have also pointed out that the apparent contradiction between the stance of Congress-led state government in Rajasthan and the Congress manifesto for ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Section 4 of para 45 of the manifesto says: "The teacher is the pivot around whom the entire system of education revolves. Teacher training and the continuing education of teachers are the key to quality instruction. Congress promises to increase the capacity, number and quality of Teacher Training Institutes set up by the government. Regulation of Teacher Training Institutes will be the responsibility of the National Council for Teacher Education and their funding will be the responsibility of the University Grants Commission or its successor. A scheme for the periodic and continuing education of teachers will be implemented and teachers will be required to mandatorily participate in the scheme."
“When the Manifesto assures "quality" in teacher education, the Rajasthan government has been trying to get the recognition restored of these five Colleges without fulfilling any requirements on the basis of which the recognition to each college was withdrawn. Instead, it is doing a totally illegal act of showing teachers of academic streams, who have B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees as teachers for B.Ed. course in these colleges. It has appealed on this ground to the NCTE HQ to restore the recognition to these colleges. None of these teachers was ever been selected for and appointed on the post of a lecturer or an assistant professor for a B.Ed. course,” said a former teacher who wished to remain anonymous.
“The present congress government in the state must follow the promise made in the manifesto in case of existing teacher education institutions, and immediately withdraw the appeals made to the NCTE HQ to show that they mean and do what they promise in their manifesto,” he added.