Over 12 lakh teachers left in the lurch after declaration
Two years after the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) began the diploma course in elementary education (D.El.Ed) programme, it has recently been rendered the same invalid for recruitment, the Deccan Herald reported.
In October 2017, the then Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar had assured that those enrolled would get a valid diploma in elementary education (D.El.Ed) on successful completion of the programme.
In 2018, 12,62,044 learners enrolled for the course which was specifically designed for in-service untrained teachers working in primary or upper primary schools of different states of the country.
Under the Right to Education Act, it had become mandatory for every teacher to gain professional capability and around 14 lakh teachers across the country were to clear the D.El.Ed programme by March 2019, failing which they would lose their jobs.
Now, about five months after the teachers completed the programme and passed the final examinations, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has come up with a clarification that the diploma course is not valid for “fresh appointments” of elementary school teachers.
This shocker to the 12 lakh plus teachers came after the Bihar government sought a clarification regarding applications from those who had earned NIOS D.El.Ed in the open and distance learning model (ODL). Following the NCTE’s clarification, the Bihar government has left out about 3.5 lakh teachers from the recruitment process.
Anil Swarup, former School Education Secretary during whose tenure the programme was designed told the Millenium Postthat the course is eligible to fulfill the necessary conditions of teacher recruitment as it was started at the behest of the HRD Ministry.
Another official, who agreed with Swarup said that nowhere in the programme was it mentioned that an in-service teacher could not apply for other teaching jobs after the completion of the course. He also said that if the NCTE wished to restrict the movement of the teachers, it should have made it clear prior to the commencement of the course.
NIOS Chairman C B Sharma told Deccan Herald, “We have not been consulted by the NCTE on this issue. When we were asked to extend the programme in 2017, we were not told that this will not be equivalent to any other diploma (DElEd). I am at a loss.”
While the HRD Ministry is tight-lipped about the issue, the NCTE is firm on its stand after having ignored the future of lakhs of teachers.
Left in a lurch
“We feel cheated by the Modi government. They should have made it clear to us in the beginning that we will not get a valid diploma. It seems the NCTE has taken such a stand under pressure from private institutes,” one of the aggrieved teachers told the Deccan Herald.
"The problem is that the government is not considering the degree of DLED as valid and that's the reason we're not able to apply," Arti said.
Subhash Chandra, also a teacher in a private school, told The Quint, "I thought that in the future I will get a government job and I will be able to feed and support my family and children. The government has betrayed us."
The NCTE is now saying that the course is now invalid because its duration was 18 months as opposed to two years. But it was then HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar who had passed a bill and it was sort of a 'dream project' for the government to train the unskilled teachers said a student.
While the government flip-flops about what to do regarding the matter, some students have taken a legal recourse to get justice and some others, whose future is in doldrums, do not whether to keep up the fight or to pursue B.Ed afresh.
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