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1.07% pass teacher test

Calcutta, Nov 22: Around 16,000 teachers’ posts in primary schools are likely to remain vacant as only 1.07 per cent of the 1.75 lakh candidates have cleared the written section of the eligibility test.

Only 18,793 candidates passed the written section of the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET), results of which were published today.

The West Bengal Board of Primary Education had conducted the test on March 31 to fill up 34,559 vacancies in primary schools across the state. The written test was of 90 marks while the interview section carries 10 marks.

Primary board officials said the success rate of 1.07 per cent was “abysmally low”.

This is the first time the government conducted a centralised recruitment test for primary teachers.

Earlier, the district primary school councils used to appoint teachers by conducting interviews of candidates shortlisted on the basis of marks scored in secondary and higher-secondary exams.

“We are planning to hold another test in March next year provided there are no legal hurdles,” said board president Manik Bhattacharya.

In the written section, the examinees had to answer multiple-choice questions on current affairs, child pedagogy and basic math. Each candidate had to score at least 60 per cent to be eligible for the interview.

Three candidates are usually called for the interview to fill up each vacant post, a board official said. “But as only 1.07 per cent of the candidates have been shortlisted for the interview, it seems whoever has passed the written test will be appointed,” he said.

The interview is supposed to be held in December and January.

Several academics attributed the poor performance to “falling academic standards”.

“I fail to understand how such a small percentage of candidates managed to score the qualifying marks. Not just graduates, several post-graduate students had taken the test,” an academic said. “This means the academic standard in Bengal is falling.”

A school education department official said running schools would become difficult for lack of teachers.

“The recruitment of primary teachers is taking place after three years. We have increased the number of schools. If so few candidates clear the TET, how will we get enough teachers for our students?” the official said.