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BEd made compulsory for teachers
- Candidates without degree to be allowed to sit for SSC with 2-year window

Calcutta July 13: The state government has made BEd compulsory for teachers of secondary and higher-secondary schools but offered a two-year window from the day of joining to new recruits without the degree.

The announcement was made today in accordance with the provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and will come into effect from this year.

Although the government will allow those without BEd to appear for the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) test, “those with the degree will be given priority in selection”, said school education secretary Vikram Sen.

“Those without the degree will be appointed only if there are vacancies after accommodating those who have done BEd,” Sen added.

Recruits without BEd will have to secure the degree through distance learning within two years of the date of joining, the official said.

Those teachers who have joined between March 31, 2001, and 2011 will be given time till 2015 to complete BEd. The relaxation is in keeping with the provisions of the RTE act. The BEd degree will not be compulsory for teachers who had joined before 2001.

A government notification will be issued soon.

Till now, the degree was not a must but candidates with BEd were awarded three grace marks in the SSC exam.

After the formulation of the RTE act in 2009, the Centre had directed all state governments to make the BEd degree mandatory for all schoolteachers from 2010. But the Left government in Bengal had appealed to the Union human resource development ministry for a more flexible approach on the ground that not many candidates knew about the new rule. The state government had also said the number of BEd-qualified candidates was less than the vacancies in the state-run and state-aided schools.

The Centre had permitted the Left government to put the decision on hold for a year. Sources said the previous government had deferred the implementation of the rule “also because it did not want to initiate any move that could make it further unpopular before the Assembly elections”.

The headmaster of a Madhyamik school said 39,000 teachers would be recruited through the SSC this year.

Although the RTE act does not mention if BEd is compulsory for those teaching in higher-secondary schools, the state government has decided to make it mandatory at this level for now. But the government plans to waive the criterion for the higher-secondary teachers after “seeking the opinion of the Centre”, said a school education department official.

School education secretary Sen said recruitment may also be made from among those who clear the Teachers’ Eligibility Test planned by the Centre-run National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE).

However, only those NCTE candidates who score a minimum of 50 per cent will be eligible for the BEd degree.

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