Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Jan. 4: More than 90 per cent candidates have failed to clear Odisha Teachers’ Eligibility Test (OTET), raising questions about the quality of institutes engaged in training them.
The test, which was held for the first time in the state last December, is an essential eligibility criterion for recruitment in different categories of schools. More than 1.3 lakh candidates had taken the test.
Less than eight per cent of the aspirants, who underwent the Certified Teacher (CT) course, cleared paper-I, which would have qualified them for teaching students from Class I to V. Just 10.16 per cent with B.Ed degrees, were successful in paper-II, which is the eligibility criteria for recruitment in upper primary classes (VI to VIII). Educationists have dubbed the situation as “alarming” and criticised the teacher-training institutes in the state, which one of them said had “turned awarding B.Ed degrees into a joke”.
“It is a sad reflection on the merit of such training institutes. The state government had been avoiding a selection procedure for recruiting teachers and giving appointment to any Tom, Dick and Harry. Why cry foul about deteriorating education standards then?” said noted academic Abani Boral.
Officials of Board of Secondary Education (BSE), which conducted the test, claimed Odisha’s performance was better than the all-India results announced a couple of days ago.
“Central Teachers’ Eligibility Test results showed that 99 per cent of the aspirants failed to clear the exam. I don’t think Odisha’s situation is alarming,” said board president Dakhya Prasad Nanda.
Some people raised concerns over the quality of teaching being imparted in schools by “undeserving” teachers. “Unless our children get quality education, we cannot expect the education scenario to improve. We are putting their future in the hands of those who are themselves not qualified to teach,” said Rudra Pratap Sahoo, a parent.
Two years ago, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had requested the then Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal to relax minimum qualification norms for recruitment of schoolteachers. The minimum eligibility norm earlier was Plus Two with a two-year CT course and graduation with a one-year degree for primary and high schoolteachers, respectively.
Naveen had stressed on the need to recruit more than 25,000 teachers in the state to meet the requirements of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. He had stated that it was difficult to source a large number of eligible applicants and recruit them in a large-scale for implementation of the Act. Sibal had approved the proposal in November 2010.
“Instead of relaxing norms, the government should show more interest in monitoring the training institutes so that the quality of teaching does not suffer,” said a retired school headmaster.
BSE officials said the government was thinking about conducting OTET twice a year, in May and December.
The test, which was earlier scheduled to take place on July 5 last year, was deferred when Orissa High Court directed the state government to hold it only after completion of the recruitment process of the siksha sahayaks (para teachers). It was finally held on December 2 at 392 centres across the state.
Siksha sahayaks were opposed to OTET and filed writ petitions in the high court, claiming that since they do not get appointment as regular teachers, the test should not be mandatory for them.