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Court nod for primary TET

The high court in an interim order has allowed the state primary education board to conduct the primary teacher eligibility test (TET) on March 30 as scheduled.

Monday’s order by Justice Biswanath Sommadder brought relief to around 20 lakh candidates who have enrolled for the test to vie for 32,000-odd jobs at government-aided primary schools across Bengal.

The order followed petitions by Prativa Mondal and a few other candidates, challenging the legality of the board’s decision to allow untrained candidates to write the test.

The judge, however, allowed the board to hold the March 30 test on condition that the results won’t be published till the disposal of the case and candidates with primary teacher’s training certificates will be given priority.

Untrained students can be given jobs only after all trained candidates who have cracked the test are appointed.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, who appeared for the petitioners, submitted that National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), which regulates teacher education in the country, had in 2009 made it mandatory for candidates being appointed as schoolteachers to have a BEd or an equivalent degree.

“The council later deferred the deadline for Bengal to March 31, 2014, on condition that untrained candidates would get the requisite degree within two years of being appointed,” Bhattacharyya submitted.

“Though the test is scheduled for March 30, it will not be possible for the board to appoint the successful untrained candidates by March 31. So why are untrained candidates being allowed to write the test?”

Appearing for the board, Lakshmi Gupta submitted: “An NCTE order states that untrained candidates can be recruited if they obtain the primary teacher’s training certificate within two years.”

A week ago, Justice Debasish Kargupta of the high court had issued an interim order restraining the West Bengal School Service Commission from conducting the TET for appointing teachers for secondary schools.

Justice Kargupta had passed the order on a petition moved by some trained candidates, who had challenged the legality of the commission’s decision to allow untrained examinees from writing the test.

The school service commission’s TET was scheduled for March 29 but following Justice Kargupta’s order, it can only be held after the Lok Sabha polls.

“The issues concerning the two TETs are the same but the court has approached them in different ways. Justice Kargupta had held that the TET for secondary schoolteachers should be held after the dispute over untrained candidates is resolved. Justice Somadder allowed the primary education board to go ahead with the March 30 test on some conditions,” said lawyer Rabishankar Chatterjee.