School education minister Vasant Purke’s college in Yavatmal is not an exception. With vacant seats, under-qualified teachers, political heads, no inspections and no accountability, teaching colleges across the state are in a “sorry state” claim principals of B.Ed and D.Ed colleges.
Over 25,000 seats are lying vacant in B.Ed. and D.Ed colleges across the state including Mumbai, according to one study. While the State education department refuses to corroborate this, but those connected with the teacher-training course like Brihanmumbai Municipal Teachers’ Union General-Secretary Ramesh Joshi, say that there are not many takers for teaching courses even in colleges in Mumbai.
“Despite this, the state government has given permission to 200 more teaching colleges for 2007. When there aren’t enough students to fill the existing number of seats why are more colleges being sanctioned?” said Joshi.
National Council for Teacher’s Education is the apex body governing teachers' training countrywide. It is responsible for the sanctioning of teaching colleges after the state government has given permission. However, there is no verification, say principals.
The NCTE website records that in the months of September and October 37 Bed and M.Ed colleges in Maharashtra were given approval.
Purke’s college is a case in point. It has been running for over two years, yet no authority has pulled up the management for the poor infrastructure and facilities. When HT contacted the Education Minister on Tuesday, he insisted his Yawatmal College had the right kind of facilities. When asked for an appointment to get the details, he turned down the correspondent saying, “ I am busy in a meeting.”
“A lot of colleges are running out of small rooms and have no library or laboratory facilities. NCTE comes for an inspection before sanctioning but I don’t think they do the inspection with open eyes,” alleges a Central based B.Ed college principal on condition of anonymity.
Moreover, these days, colleges are approaching the NCTE directly for approval without first getting a no-objection certificate from the state government or getting affiliation to a university, say principals. “There is a lot of corruption in the NCTE. It has become so easy to get sanctioned,” said a principal who did not wish to be named.
The State minister for higher and technical education Dilip Valse Patil agreed that the mushrooming of B Ed colleges in the state means that the quality of education is suffering. “Too many colleges are being sanctioned these days and the trend is not healthy,” said Patil.
He added that the state government does not have the powers to stop a college from imparting B Ed education even if the basic facilities are lacking. “The universities affiliating these courses should ensure that the facilities are in place,” he added indirectly hinting that the Higher education department is not accountable for poor quality of teaching or lack of facilities.
While, college principals maintained that the dearth of good teachers to teach B Ed students was ever increasing. “Since there are not many teachers who have cleared the National Entrance Test (NET) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) examination, we have to settle with teachers who have just cleared the B ED exams,” said N K Pradhan, Principal of Chembur Sarvankash Shikshanshastra Mahavidyalya.
On the other hand, Principal of Bombay Teacher’s Training College, Colaba Dr Mintu Sinha further added that even the quality of students who enrolled for the B Ed course could hardly speak English or had a grab of any other language. “Students who enroll here can hardly speak English,” said Dr Sinha. But most of the principals are of the view that there is not much time to groom students, as the course is only one year long.
In fact, students do not even get full one year to complete for the course. The centralised B Ed admissions, conducted by NCTE, go on till October while the academic session is supposed to start by June. “Students get hardly six months for the course as their final exams arescheduled on April the next year,” said Dr Sinha.