SC asks Bihar governor to take a call on B.Ed entrance test within 5 days
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the governor-cum-chancellor of universities in Bihar to decide the mode of admission in B.Ed course across the state since the combined entrance test (CET) for admission to B.Ed (CET-B.Ed) courses for 2020-2022 session has remained stuck due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have heard the counsels for all sides. The counsel, appearing for the state nodal officer for the exam, informs us that the chancellor can take a decision as to whether there ought to be a central qualifying examination or whether the marks obtained till graduation are sufficient for the purpose of entrance into the B.Ed,” said the bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha.
The matter will come up on September 2 again for hearing.
“The Chancellor is requested to positively decide and communicate his decision, given the serious pandemic situation and the flood situation in the State of Bihar, to the court within five days stating whether the Common Entrance Test ought not to be shelved for this year and as to whether the qualifying examination could be on some other basis,” the bench said.
With the CET-B.Ed for 2020-2022 on hold, Bihar’s teachers’ training colleges and their teachers and employees have been facing as many difficulties as being faced by over 1.22-lakh applicants, fearing the loss of a session.
OSD-Judicial at the Raj Bhawan, Vinod Tiwari, said that the Raj Bhawan would soon take a decision regarding admissions in B.Ed course and apprise the apex court about it. “We will work on it in a day or two in the light of the apex court’s order,” he added.
Due to the lockdown in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic and the subsequent rise of infections, the entrance examinations have been postponed thrice. The private B.Ed colleges have been demanding permission to admit students on the basis of marks received in their last qualifying examination. They wrote to the chancellor and also knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court for relief.
Lalit Narayan Mithila University (LNMU), Darbhanga, which is the nodal university for conducting 2020 CET-B.Ed, had also approached the apex court for further guidance.
“We have proposed a tentative date of September 22 in anticipation that things will get better by then. We had made all the preparations for the test on March 29 itself, but the lockdown prevented its conduct. Later, we planned it on June 14, July 19, and September 13. Now, we will go by the SC order or the Raj Bhawan direction,” said LNMU nodal officer Ajit Kumar Singh.
Officials in the Raj Bhawan said a way out of the current logjam would be worked out to hold the examination.
As two-year B.Ed programme in Bihar is mostly run by the private colleges in self-financing mode on a fee of Rs 1.5-lakh-- fixed by the Raj Bhawan-- the institutions are hard pressed, fearing wash out of the session after having to bear with losses due to vacant seats for two consecutive years. Many proprietors of the B.Ed colleges said they were in no position to pay salary to their staff due to no admission in the current session.
The Supreme Court, while hearing a case of a UP‘s Maa Vaishno Devi Mahila College in 2012, had ordered “adherence to admission schedule and strict conformity by all concerned, without exception”. “The authorities will also ensure that the students admitted complete the mandatory period of 200 days’ course in the B.Ed. as per norms of the NCTE,” it had observed.
With the admission process likely to extend up to December, even if the exam is held on September 23, mandatory teaching for 200-days is just not possible. “Therefore, we urged the apex court to direct the authorities to take admissions on the basis of marks this year. The colleges are facing an acute financial crisis due to the lack of admissions. We have been suffering for the last two years due to one reason or the other,” said Dr Sanjay Kumar, convenor, Bihar state teachers’ training colleges association, who had approached the court for admission on marks-basis this year.
In Bihar, there are around 350 teachers’ training colleges, out of which, over 90% are private institutions, employing over 5,500 teachers and around 3,000 non-teaching staff.
Dhruv Kumar, head, department of education, Nalanda College, Bihar Sharif said that the new session should ideally begin in July first week. “Due to the extraordinary situation in the wake of the pandemic, there is no harm in allowing admissions on the marks-basis for the 2020-22 session. Some states like Chhatisgarh have already announced admission on the basis of marks this year, as conducting exams will not be easy due to high risks involved,” he added.
The CET-B.Ed was an initiative of the Chancellor office to regulate the mushrooming of private teachers’ training colleges in the state. Compared to the first year in 2018, the number of candidates registered and appearing in the examination dropped last year. This year, 1.22-lakh candidates filled up the form.
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