Bhubaneswar: Odisha is facing an acute shortage of teachers to teach science and mathematics in schools. Worried over the situation, the state government has urged the Centre to relax the minimum qualification for recruitment of teachers as stipulated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The state government has been in a fix over recruitment of teachers in schools as the number of trained teachers produced in the state is very low compared to the requirement, official sources said.
The Right to Education (RTE) Act stipulates that there shall be at least one teacher in science and mathematics for classes VI to VIII in every school. The minimum qualification of the teacher is BSc with BEd as prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
The state government had taken steps to fill up 15,000 posts in 2013. But the number of science candidates who have passed the Odisha Teacher Eligibility Test (OTET) was not enough to cater to the need. "The government has taken the initiative to recruit more teachers and fill up the vacancies, but there is a severe shortage of trained teachers. Very few candidates qualified the mandatory OTET test and the existing teachers training institutes hardly meet 12 per cent of the total teacher requirement," said a senior officer in the school and mass education department.
In order to meet the requirement, the state government had proposed to the Centre to engage untrained science graduates who have BSc and higher degrees as teachers in schools. The state would train these teachers under the open and distance learning over the next four years. "Since the Centre did not allow us to relax the qualification, we urged the Centre to extend distance education programme from 2015-16 to 2019-20 for training these elementary school teachers," the officer added.
Sources said, only 21.36 per cent and 30.51 per cent candidates qualified paper-1 and paper-II of the 2nd OTET exam conducted in June 2013. To produce more trained teachers the state government has drawn up an action plan to train over 12,000 elementary school teachers. Already, 5,538 untrained teachers from government and aided schools have been enrolled in 30 district institutes of education and training (DIET) during the 2013-14 academic session.