Calcutta High Court on Tuesday barred the West Bengal School Service Commission from conducting the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) till August 15 since the school education department has yet to get the National Council for Teacher Education’s (NCTE) clearance for allowing untrained candidates to write the exam.
The restraining order issued by Justice Debasish Kargupta says: “The court on March 20 issued an interim stay on the TET till June because the state had failed to take a decision on the NCTE rule on not permitting candidates to write the exam after March 31 this year. The education department has not taken any decision yet. So, this court is extending the time limit of its earlier order till August 15.”
The TET was slated for March 20, the day the judge passed the order restraining the commission from holding the test till June 30. He had fixed June 10 for the next hearing.
When the court heard the case on Tuesday, school service commission counsel Abhijit Ganguli informed Justice Kargupta that the education department has yet to take a decision on the NCTE rule.
The judge took note of the lawyer’s statement and extended the stay till August 15, while fixing July 20 as the next date of hearing.
The court’s order plunged into uncertainty the fate of almost 10 lakh candidates aspiring to take the TET without a BEd degree.
The test was to be conducted to recruit over 12,000 assistant teachers for classes V to VIII in state-aided schools.
Opposition members in the Assembly had on Monday demanded the government resolve the crisis and ease the anxiety of the candidates.
They asked education minister Partha Chatterjee to specify steps taken by the government on the NCTE deadline.
Chatterjee told the House that the government had written to the NCTE to allow untrained candidates to write the TET. It was not known how the NCTE had responded to the request.
Justice Kargupta had passed the interim order on March 20 in response to a batch of petitions by 70 candidates who had cleared the TET last year but weren’t recruited. They were told to retake the test this year.
“The NCTE had set March 31 as the last date for the school service commission to appoint untrained assistant teachers for schools across Bengal. It had mentioned that the selected candidates should get a BEd degree within two years of their recruitment,” advocates Subrata Mukhopadhyay and Vikram Banerjee, appearing for the petitioners, had said in a joint statement.
They said the NCTE rule states that successful TET candidates who have not been absorbed yet need not take the exam again for the next seven years — in case the test is held once a year.
The lawyers alleged that the state education department has violated the NCTE rules. “The education department is ignoring candidates who had cleared the test last year but were not recruited.”