Qualifying in a Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) is now mandatory for all existing and aspiring primary and middle school teachers in the country, with the passing of the Right To Education Act. The National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) has published the guidelines for conducting the TET, providing complete details about rationale for the test, eligibility to take the test, the structure and syllabus for the test, the type of questions that would be asked and the marks required to qualify as a teacher.
To be eligible to take the CTET or any other TET conducted by the states, one has to have a degree in education (B.Ed or D. Ed) or be on the verge of completing a degree in the year of taking the test. Teachers will need to take the TET within a period of 5 years from the time the TET is first notified. This kind of a qualifying test can help improve the quality of teachers right from the recruitment stage.
The Central Government and many States have begun conducting the TET. The Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) was conducted by the CBSE for the first time in June 2011. The next CTET will be held on January 29, 2012. Here's how the CTET web site describes the Test.
It had been inter alia provided that one of the essential qualifications for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in any of the schools referred to in clause (n) of section 2 of the Right To Education Act is that he/ she should pass the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) which will be conducted by the appropriate Government in accordance with the Guidelines framed by the NCTE.
The rationale for including the TET as a minimum qualification for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher is as under:
- It would bring national standards and benchmark of teacher quality in the recruitment process.
- It would induce teacher education institutions and students from these institutions to further improve their performance standards.
- It would send a positive signal to all stakeholders that the Government lays special emphasis on teacher quality.
The aggregate results of CTET 2011 are available thanks to a question raised in the Lok Sabha by the MP, Priya Sunil Dutt. Two papers were held as part of CTET 2011, one for those who wish to become a teacher in classes I to V and another for those who wish to become a teacher in classes VI to VIII.
Aggregate results from the CTET conducted by CBSE in June 2011
Paper-I (Classes I to V)
Paper-II (Classes VI to VIII)
According to the aggregate data provided by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, D. Purandeswari, less than 10% of those who took the tests were able to qualify. There is no indication of how many of those who qualified were existing teachers.
Priya Sunil Dutt, in her question, had also asked whether, to protect the interests of SC & ST candidates, the Government proposes to prescribe lower marks/ qualifying standard in future and retrospectively to CTET 2011. The Minister, D. Purandeswari, responded saying,
The CBSE has issued certificates and statements of marks to candidates of all categories securing marks 60% and above. Appointing authorities can consider giving concessions to persons belonging to SC/ST/OBC/differently abled category in accordance with respective reservation policies.
It would be good if the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and the respective State Councils of Teacher Education publish a list on their web sites of all teachers who have qualified in the TET conducted by them, just as the Medical Council of India, publishes a list of all qualified doctors. This would also help students wanting to do a B.Ed or D.Ed in selecting those teacher training colleges that do a good job in training teachers to qualify. The teacher training colleges could also be asked to publish on their web sites the percentage of their students who have qualified in the TETs.
The Tamil Nadu Government notified the Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test recently and put out a Government Order based on the NCTE guidelines. There are a few points that I am still unsure about after reading the Tamil Nadu Government Order.
- The G.O. says "The teachers working in unaided private schools are required to pass Teacher Eligibility Test within 5 years." I presume all teachers currently working in Government schools or Government-aided schools will also need to pass the test within 5 years, but am not sure about it. The G.O. states that teachers can be recruited henceforth only if they have qualified in the TET.
- The G.O. says "The Validity Period of the TET qualifying certificate for appointment will be decided by the appropriate Government subject to a maximum of seven years for all categories." Does this mean that every Teacher will have take the test again after seven years?
- Since the RTE Act only applies to children of 6-14 years of age, are high school and higher secondary school teachers exempt from taking the TET? If so, the NCTE could come up with guidelines for another similar TET for teachers teaching classes IX - XII.