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Centre relaxes teacher norms
- Move will make lakhs eligible for test

Guwahati, Aug. 30: The Centre has accepted Dispur’s proposal to relax the minimum qualifications for schoolteachers — a move that will allow lakhs of aspirants to take the teachers’ eligibility test on December 4.

The Centre had made it mandatory in August 2010 for all teachers wishing to apply for posts in Classes I to VIII to complete a two-year diploma course in elementary education. Likewise, a one-year bachelor in education was made mandatory for appointment to teach Classes VI to VIII.

Assam education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the relaxation of norms today while declaring the schedule of eligibility test examination — forms for which will be distributed from September 23.

The Centre had issued a gazette notification on August 26 specifically for Assam, announcing the change.

“However, those appointed as teachers after clearing the eligibility test will have to acquire the qualifications within two years. On our part, we will also initiate steps to churn out more aspirants with the required qualifications before the expiry of the 2015 deadline,” Sarma said.

Though Dispur plans to appoint 35,000 teachers by March, it had informed the Centre that it would require candidates for at least 80,000 posts.

To ensure that the eligibility test is free and fair, Sarma said the department would deploy eight academicians of unquestionable credentials from December 4 to December 23 at the evaluation centre.

“The eligibility test will be fully computerised and the results will be valid for seven years,” he said.

Those appearing for the eligibility test will, however, need to have 50 per cent marks in the higher secondary examination for appointment to the lower primary level in any stream and a similar percentage in graduation for Middle English schools.

For reserved category aspirants, the cut-off marks will be five per cent lower.

One has to score over 60 per cent to clear the eligibility test.

Sarma said the government also plans to convert single-teacher school to at least two-teacher school within 45 days as part of its rationalisation drive.

“We have more than 7,500 single-teacher schools. This goes against the provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which stipulates that the state government has to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio in each school at 1:30 for lower primary and 1:35 for upper primary. We have now changed the system of transfer and postings to convert these schools into two-teacher ones,” Sarma said.

An office memorandum issued by A.B. Md Eunus, commissioner and secretary, elementary education, on August 25, stated that deputy commissioners/principal secretaries of autonomous councils would now have the power to transfer teachers from one school to another.

There will now be a four-member district-level committee headed by deputy commissioners/principal secretaries responsible for maintaining the pupil-teacher ratio.

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