The state government on Monday decided to introduce a BEd course in the distance education mode at 11 universities to help teachers comply with a provision in a central legislation.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act has set March 2015 as the deadline for every schoolteacher to have a BEd degree. The law bars states from appointing candidates without a BEd degree from next year.
Education minister Bratya Basu, who met the vice-chancellors of the 11 universities on Monday, said the curriculum of the new course would be prepared following the rules of the National Council for Teacher Education.
The duration of the new course will be the same as the existing one — 10 months.
“The lack of adequate number of teacher-training institutes offering the conventional BEd course has prompted the government to launch the distance-education course,” said an official in the higher education department.
“The number of BEd seats in the conventional course is too few compared with the demand. The mismatch has resulted in thousands being recruited as teachers without a BEd degree. The new course will help at least 60,000 teachers comply with the relevant provision in the right to education act.”
According to officials, around 30,000 teachers in the state-aided schools do not have a BEd degree. “We expect another 30,000 of the 52,000-odd teachers to be recruited soon will not have the degree,” the official added.
In the present system, a Bachelor’s degree in education is not a must for the job of a teacher. But those applying to join state-aided schools as teachers are awarded three extra marks during the screening if they have a BEd degree.
The institutes that will offer the BEd course in the distance education mode are Calcutta, Jadavpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan, Sidho-Kanho-Birsha, Gour Banga, Vidyasagar, North Bengal, Kalyani, West Bengal State and Netaji Subhas Open universities. Calcutta and some other universities on the list may have to get their statutes amended to offer the distant education course.
The practical exams of HS 2013 will continue from January 4 to January 31. For the first time the council has fixed dates for the practicals. The physics, nutrition and psychology tests have to be held on January 4 and 5, and from January 7 to 11; chemistry, geography, home science and nursing tests on January 12 and from January 14 to 19; statistics, computer applications, computer science, fine arts and crafts and agriculture tests on January 21, 24, 25 and from January 28 to 31.