The HRD Ministry has moved a Cabinet note to extend the deadline for teacher training till 2020 under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. According to sources, the note was dispatched to Union Law Ministry and NITI Aayog on October 10 for their comments. The decision was taken at the behest of several states, which were requesting an extension, ever since the first deadline under the RTE Act 2009 expired in March last year. Incidentally, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) had passed a similar resolution on Tuesday.
The RTE Act guarantees free and compulsory education to all children from the age of six to 14 years. Section 23 of the law currently mandates that all government school teachers should possess the minimum qualifications laid down by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE). Those who weren’t qualified had time till March 31, 2015, to complete their training. However, once this deadline expired, hiring of teachers came to a grinding halt. The HRD Ministry has now circulated a draft cabinet note to seek permission to give state governments another five years to fulfill the teacher training condition.
“Currently, there are almost five lakh untrained teachers working across government schools. They can’t be left in the lurch. This is why this decision was taken,” said a source, who did not wish to be identified. Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are currently facing a shortage of qualified teachers.
According to sources, a separate Cabinet note will be moved to amend the law to dilute the no-detention policy as suggested by CABE on Tuesday. As per the proposal, CABE wants students to be promoted compulsorily up to Class V, after which states would have the freedom to decide if they wish to hold a student back or not. Currently, no child can be failed up to Class VIII. The resolution also states that learning outcomes should be clearly codified under the rules of the Act.