Mumbai: Over 8,000 teachers of Maharashtra have denounced the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) as the only criterion to decide whether they can keep their jobs. This move has come following the decision of the Bombay High Court (HC) on Monday to terminate the employment of those teachers at the elementary school level (Class 1 to 8) who fail to clear TET.
Teachers working in government schools for over 20 years have asserted they cannot be judged on the basis of a multiple-choice question (MCQ) test. Darshana Pandav, a teacher of a night school in Sion, said, “I have a double Master's degree in education and I have been teaching for over 20 years. Is the government now telling me that I am no longer eligible as a teacher if I do not clear an MCQ test? What about my degree and skills?”
The HC highlighted that the quality of teachers was important, along with free education. Harshad Elavia, a government school teacher, said, “If the court and state want good quality teachers, then they should check our work beyond classrooms, extra-curricular activities, overall skill development and progress of our students. It is ironic! How can the quality be judged based on a test when the government proclaims they want teachers to go beyond academic focus and facilitate the overall skill development of students?”
The TET consists of MCQs based on the curriculum of Classes 1 to 8, and was introduced in August 2010 by the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE). This examination was initiated, as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, stipulates the requirement of a test over basic degree qualification for teachers.
Some teachers were appointed through the secondary school court before the introduction of the TET, according to Anil Bornare, leader of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) Teachers’ Association. Bornare said, “Many teachers were appointed on the basis of their degrees and diplomas in the educational field. These teachers have been teaching for over 15 to 20 years. The state cannot impose TET as a mandatory criterion. We have written a letter to the state education minister for immediate action.”
In a tit for tat, teachers have demanded the imposition of TET-like exams for all government employees in the education department. Pandav said, “We are not working as teachers only because of our academic qualification. We have learned various skills and mastered the art of teaching-learning to help students. The state should impose a TET-like examination for those who are doing administrative work in the education department, rather than making lives difficult for teachers.”
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