The Punjab education department has decided to do away with Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) conducted prior to recruitment into government service and will now introduce the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission into JBT colleges.
Talking to Hindustan Times, education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said the decision had been taken after carefully studying that the TET had not been helping the government to get better and skilful teachers for schools.
Cheema said the TET had failed to serve the desired purpose while the JBT colleges kept mushrooming all over the state and even outside without maintaining a certain standard of education.
He said these colleges were producing a large number of unemployed aspiring teachers every year of whom only 10% were able to clear the TET which is pre-condition for entry into government service.
He said the purpose of starting an entrance test would be to check the intelligence as well as their aptitude for teaching at the time of being admitted into JBT colleges rather than testing it at a later stage.
The rest of the students who are not fit for teaching may go for other professional courses or take up skill learning courses. Cheema said when he was shouldered with the responsibility of being the education minister, around 100 applications were pending on his table for opening new JBT colleges. The first thing he did was to put a ban on new colleges, he added.
Cheema said about 12,000 vacancies of teachers were lying vacant in schools. The department had moved the file to fill 12,000 posts of teachers at primary and secondary level schools. He said almost all eligible candidates who had cleared the TET would get the jobs.
The education minister said he was surprised to see the poor standard of teachers in schools. During a direct interaction with the teachers from all over the state, he had found that only 20% of them could correctly spell the English words used in routine. "We are going in for an orientation programme for such teachers," he said.
Cheema said he had also changed the policy of giving rewards to the best performing teachers. He said that earlier teachers were asked to submit their names for getting the reward. No sincere teacher would request the government to give him reward; so the department had asked to district education officers to recommend the names of good teachers for the best teacher award and also allowed others to submit the applications. It would encourage good teachers, he added.