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Court scan on teacher test

The National Council for Teachers’ Education has opposed the state government’s decision to not give preference to trained candidates over untrained ones in the written test to appoint primary teachers, scheduled for December 23. The council is the apex body regulating primary teachers’ training across the country.

According to notifications issued by the West Bengal Primary Education Board on October 19, trained and untrained candidates will be on an equal footing in the teachers’ eligibility test and the interview that would follow.

Those with diploma from primary teachers’ training institutes (PTTIs) will get 20 additional marks during “overall assessment”, the last stage of the three-tier elimination process.

During the hearing of a case filed in the high court by two trained prospective teachers challenging the legality of the board’s decision, council lawyer Asha Gutgutia said those with primary school teaching diplomas would suffer if they were given extra marks only at the last stage of the selection process.

“Only those who score 60 per cent or more in the eligibility test will make it to the next two legs of screening. If a trained candidate is eliminated in the first stage, he will not be able to gain in any way from his training,” said Gutgutia.

She added: “According to the NCTE rules, advantage must be awarded to the trained candidates from the first tier.”

The October 19 notification states that those who have passed HS with 50 per cent marks and graduates shall be eligible for selection as primary teachers in the state on the condition that those without the diploma acquire it within two years of appointment.

Board officials refused comment saying the matter was sub judice.

Fifty-five lakh candidates have applied for 40,000 posts of primary school teachers.