The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NGO-run courses must for teacher aspirants

Calcutta, Feb. 9: A boost for education or a push for the state’s NGOs'

A government decision to make it mandatory for aspirants to teachers’ posts in government-run and government-aided primary schools to undergo the junior basic training has generated this debate in government and teaching circles.

The move that, according to officials, will “boost the quality of teaching” has coincided with another government decision: to do away with the burden of shouldering the teacher-training courses and, instead, shift the load on to NGOs.

There are 57 institutes — run by the government — to train teachers on how to fulfil their duties inside the classroom. West Bengal has over 60,000 state-funded primary schools and they recruit approximately 10,000 teachers every year.

“We have received applications from 67 NGOs which want to take care of the basic training institutes,” West Bengal Board of Primay Education president Jyotiprakash Ghosh said. Permission will be given after a careful scrutiny of the applications, he added. The new institutes will be completely self-financed and the government will not bear any liability.

The other decision — making it compulsory for each teacher-aspirant to have the basic training course — is as important, say officials, despite admitting that the earlier one has generated more controversy. The existing procedure let candidates complete their basic training course even after they joined their teaching posts in primary schools. The new system will assure “quality teachers” for the schools, feel officials.

Ghosh also said the government has allowed the primary education board to take over the reins of the examination (for teachers) at the end of the 10-month course from the state school education directorate.

“The number of examinees is expected to increase considerably as soon as the NGO-run institutes start operating,” he explained. The responsibility for conducting the tests had to be transferred because the directorate had neither the infrastructure nor the manpower to tackle the expected boom in the number of examinees, he added.

But the government already seems to have decided on a deviation from the norms laid down by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) despite claims to keep them in mind while approving the teacher-training NGOs.

Though the NCERT norms lay down that institutes are required to have one full-time teacher for every 10 trainees, the government has decided to allow the NGOs to appoint one teacher for every 20 trainees, say officials.

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