Tribune News Service
Faridkot, October 15
The Department of School Education, Punjab, has exempted over 8,000 educational volunteers and education providers in government schools from the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET).
As per a notification issued by the department, the educational volunteers, who were appointed before August 23, 2010, and had acquired the requisite qualification (BEd or ETT) are not required to pass Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) as required under the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
Working on a contract basis for the past 16 years, these teachers were recruited under the Alternative Inclusive Education (AIE) and the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. They have been demanding regularisation of their services from the past decade.
The state has seen many agitations by teachers, and there have been incidents where some of them allegedly ended their lives during protests. These teachers have been demanding the state to accommodate them as regular employees in pre-primary classes started under the ‘Padho Punjab, Padhao Punjab’ project.
To ensure that all children go to schools, these educational volunteers were engaged under the SSA in 2003-2004. There was no demand for formal qualification from these volunteers at that time. After their services were no longer needed under the SSA, the Education Department started retrenchment in 2010-2011. This had resulted in a long-protracted agitation by these volunteers.
In the last 10 years, most of these volunteers attained the required qualification (BEd and ETT). After the School Education Department started working on its plan of filling over 9,000 vacancies of pre-primary teachers in government schools, most of these teachers got online nursery teacher training diplomas. Presently these teachers are working on contractual basis and drawing a salary of Rs 5,000.