The State government’s decision to make screening test compulsory for Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers who have obtained their degrees through distance mode has left the teaching community seething in anger.
The government is also considering similar tests for in-service General Line Teachers who have obtained their degree from distance mode.
Teachers have expressed dismay over the government’s decision, saying that certificates and eligibility are checked and verified at the initial stage and re-verifying the credentials would be wastage of time.
The government is also mulling to introduce Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) as a necessary measure for all those desirous of joining the teaching profession.
A meeting in this regard was convened by Secretary School Education on July 8, attended by Directors School Education Kashmir and Jammu, State Project Director SSA, Chairman BOSE and Principals of SIE from both the divisions.
“At the time of engagement the ReTs would be required to qualify the screening test and no fresh ReTs shall be engaged till a mechanism is put in place for conducting screening test,” reads the minutes of the meeting.
The government has also decided that ReTs working at present will have to qualify screening test at the time of their regularization.
The decisions have been taken in reference to the High Court order issued on May 14 this year. The High Court had directed the school education department to scrutinize the degree certificates and conduct screening test of ReTs who have obtained their degrees through distance mode. The directions were passed after an ReT applicant failed to write an essay on cow and also couldn’t solve a mathematics question of primary standard.
The HC had observed that the study centers were providing degrees which severally affected the education system as a whole and directed the state government to constitute a committee to examine the issue in its totality and suggest measures.
The government is mulling to convene another meeting to decide about the fate of General Line Teachers who have got their degrees from study centers or distance mode.
Officials have also recommended proficiency test for teachers at the time of promotion to the post of Masters and Lecturers.
“Teachers should be able to qualify the proficiency test at the time of their promotion for which school education department will bring about necessary amendments in the recruitment rules,” reads the minutes of the meeting.
The SIE will be the nodal agency for conducting the test and will also be assigned to finalize a proposal regarding the same. “While framing the proposal, pattern or similar tests conducted by other states shall be kept in consideration,” read the minutes.
The government has decided to constitute a special cell at the level of Directorate, that will verify such degrees in a period of two months. “These cells will also furnish data to the SIE for conducting screening test.”
Besides, the government in a bid to assess the adverse impact of poor results on education will conduct sample survey of results obtained from different schools having teachers from sources viz ReT and General Line Teachers recruited through Service Selection Board (SSB).
The government will compare the results of class 8th as available with DIET/ Directorate or Board of School Education (BOSE).
Also, a State Level Assessment Test (SLAT) will be conducted in the respect of SSA schools for class 5th.
Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum (JKTF) lead by Abdul Qayoom Wani has opposed the move saying the verification of certificates of teachers and conduct of exams shall prove as last nail in the coffin of school education department.
In a statement issued here, Wani said, “Teachers are builders of nation and aware of their duties,” adding that education department was not a laboratory to conduct any sort of experiment. “The verification of certificates and examination of teachers is ridiculous.”
Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, however said that everything was being done in light of High Court order. “We have not done anything beyond that.”
He said focus will remain on establishing the primacy and dignity of teachers which has ‘unfortunately been compromised in the past because of corruption by previous government.’
“Our focus remains on education and overall development of children,” Naeem Akhtar said.