Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The PTTI issue in West Bengal

I had trouble disseminating the PTTI issue based on current media reports. So here's what I found so far on the web. Everything I'm quoting from the mentioned sources are in italics.

The Background. The National Council for Teacher Education was appointed in 1995 with responsibilities which are pretty intuitive and jurisdiction on all states except J&K.
The West Bengal Education Act of 1973, however vests responsibilities that overlap with those of NCTE, on the West Bengal Board of Primary Education.[Source] I also find reference to a Bengal(Rural) Primary Education Act of 1930 here. I think the reference to the eligibility of students as being higher secondary qualified versus secondary qualified as the source of the conflict is someone's analysis and synthesis of these State and Central legislatures and the exclusivity of power issue.

The Conflict. (In his letter Bhattacharjee pointed out that) the training of primary teachers were conducted under Primary Education Act and Rules. While the NCTE Act was promulgated in 1995, the training institutes of the state ran as usual.[Source]

The Fallout. Stating that the high court order had put the future of 75,000 trained candidates in jeopardy, it said nearly 40,000 of them were already engaged as primary teachers with 20,000 waiting for their selection as primary teachers and 15,000 yet to receive their certificates even after completing the course.

The state government had also requested HRD minister Arjun Singh to bring an appropriate legislation in validating the course upto 2005-06, the letter (CM's) said.
Arjun Singh was the HRD minister from June 1991 to Dec 1994. The NCTE Act was formulated in 1993 and enacted in 1995.

The Trigger. The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday (October 1, 2008) declared 122 Primary Teachers’ Training Institutes (PTTIs) in the state (out of 138) illegal since these were not recognised by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE).
A Division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose said these institutes should have sought recognition from the NCTE in accordance with the law.
The Bench also directed the institutes to return the money taken from the applicants for admission to the 2005-06 session. The NCTE had issued a circular in 2006 terming the institutes invalid, as they had not sought recognition from it. Subsequently, a Division Bench of the High Court passed an order restraining the admissions and the PTTIs could not admit students after 2006.
The Wednesday’s ruling came during the hearing of a PIL filed in 2007 by Tulshi Bakshi, a resident of Kolkata. [Source]
The Bottomline. Here's a detailed account of a Kolkata High Court proceeding, which, if I understand correctly, states that the Tulshi Bakshi PIL precedes this one. There's a pretty detailed discussion on the significance of use of commas, semicolones and full stops in this document! The pertinent information here is that the NCTE overrides State legislature. About 15000 colleges are facing the same fate Nationally. The litigations have occured throughout India and the judgment is all pretty consistent.

So what the heck happened between 1995-2005?

At the end of it all, ofcourse I do not understand why teachers need to be trained or rather, how people can just be trained into becoming teachers and why someone who is deciding to give up academics/education/learning after the twelfth grade should be selected to train/teach humans at an age when we learn the fastest. Infact why is anyone being allowed to give up education after the twelfh grade? Why would the government promote it? Why isn't part of my responsibility/job description to go and explain to fifth graders what I do in the lab?


Anonymous said...

I am glad that you take effort to summarize the chaos going on with PTTI.
I know throw some light into your research. It is odd that appointment to lowest level of educational institutes has generated such an attention. Appoint to the primary schools, are completely controlled by CPM caders in ABTA. When the requirement of PTTI came in, the state govt started issuing certificates to privately run PTTIs. CPM got too adventurous and approved application to only to its followers however unfit they are and denied to anyone who does not belong to their party no matter how qualified they are.

A specific case. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/primary-teachers-training-valid-hc/333297/ . "The same year the Deben Mahato Smriti Rakha Committee of Purulia filed a petition in the Calcutta High Court complaining that the board had given sanction to Chetana Primary Teachers’ Training Institution (PTTI) violating the rules. The Deben Mahato Smriti Raksha Committee had also approached the Primary Education Department for permission to run a PTTI, but was turned down. " The Deben Mahato folks belongs to congress whereas Chetaana was run by CPM MLA. Chetaana did not have any building. This triggered the hornets nest .... court etc ....

And here we are. It is a case of ultimate incompetency of government bureaucracy and coercion of dissenting political views.

Sandip said...

Thanks for leaving your comments. My interest was the dynamics of Indian administration in matters concerning education, science and technology. You'll actually have to read the content in all the embedded links to follow what I'm saying. Your kind of myopic analysis, don't interest me.

Post a Comment