The Centre is yet to respond to the state’s appeal to extend the March 31 deadline for candidates without a teacher training certificate to write the primary and secondary teacher eligibility tests, plunging into uncertainty the fate of lakhs of applicants.
The National Council for Teacher Education, the apex body regulating teacher education in the country, has made it compulsory for candidates applying for writing a teacher eligibility test (TET) to have a teacher training degree.
The council, which functions under the human resource development ministry, has allowed the Bengal government to recruit candidates without the degree till March 31, 2014.
Nearly 25 lakh candidates have applied for writing the primary and secondary TETs. Eighty per cent of the candidates do not have any teacher training degree.
The 2014 primary and secondary TETs were scheduled for March 30 and March 29, respectively. Both had to be deferred indefinitely.
If the ministry does not extend the March 31 deadline, the untrained candidates may not be eligible to take the rescheduled test, a source in the government said.
“Around 20 lakh applicants will suffer if the ministry refuses to extend the March 31 deadline,” said the source.
“The state government had written to the ministry requesting it to extend the March 31 deadline. We have not received any reply yet,” said Subiresh Bhattacharya, the chairman of the West Bengal School Service Commission.
The state primary education board had put off the March 30 primary TET, which around 18 lakh candidates were to write, following a letter from police stating that they would not be able to provide any help in conducting the examination because of the Lok Sabha polls. The West Bengal School Service Commission, too, had indefinitely deferred the secondary TET scheduled for March 29 following a stay issued by the high court.
The council for teacher education had in 2009 made the BEd or an equivalent degree compulsory for applying for teaching jobs at schools.
In 2011, it had relaxed the rule and allowed the Bengal government to recruit candidates without the degree till March 31, 2014.
Bhattacharya, of the school service commission, said around six lakh candidates had applied for writing the test, through which the government would recruit teachers for classes V to VIII at aided schools.
Bhattacharya announced on Thursday that the pass certificates of the 1.73 lakh candidates who had cracked the test for recruiting teachers for classes IX to XII last year would be valid for three years.