The freeze on teachers' recruitment in the state seems to have led to a dip in the demand for diploma in education (DEd ), with almost three out of every four seats available for the course vacant.
According to the data from Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT), only 14,824 students took admission when 65,733 seats were available in 989 DEd colleges in the state. The demand was slightly higher last year, with 15,751 students enrolling for DEd.
The two-year diploma course after graduation is a necessary qualification for those aspiring to teach up to Class 7.
According to educationists, the state's refusal to hire new teachers has dissuaded students from taking up DEd. "There are already surplus teachers, especially in urban schools, who need to be absorbed. Although there is a requirement for teachers at schools in rural areas, the government is yet to start the recruitment process," said Ramesh Khanvilkar, president of Siddhivinayak Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, which runs several education institutes in the city and suburbs.
Last December, HT had reported that although the state government had lifted its three-year ban on recruitment of teachers, the state school education department was not allowing schools to hire more staff because it was clueless about vacancies in schools.
According to Mohammed Baseer from Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), while most of the schools run by zilla parishads have surplus teachers, many private-aided schools don't have the adequate teacher-student ratio.
There are other also factors responsible for the slump. "Parents prefer newly opened private English-medium schools over government-aided vernacular medium schools even in rural areas. Many of these schools hire teachers who don't have diploma in education," said Rauf Pathan, president, Irene Institute of Education, Kalyan.
Baseer said the state’s decision to hold a Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET), as a requirement for recruitment, has also affected the DEd enrolments. “Owing to high cut-offs only a few students were able to clear TET and were eligible for teaching,” he said.