Can a person be appointed to teach a subject which she or he has himself not studied for three years in graduation but only for a year as an additional subject?
The Rajasthan High Court has said that doing so would amount to diluting the standard of education, whatever of it is left.
“… a teacher who himself has not studied the subject which he is to teach; if appointed would be damaging to the very concept of quality education,” Justice Veerender Singh Siradhana said while allowing a batch of petitions against the advertisement issued the government in September last year inviting applications for the post of Teacher Grade-III (Level-II).
The government amended its earlier notification dated July 6, 2016 (Rajasthan Primary and Upper Primary School Teachers Direct Recruitment- 2016) and candidates with the corresponding language as an additional subject were also treated eligible for applying for the post.
This conferment of eligibility on candidates who have studied English as an additional subject in one of the three years of graduation was challenged in some of the petitions.
The high court held, “The term “graduate” would mean and must be interpreted to be “graduate in the concerned subject”, and had undergone a course of the duration of three years “degree” course in consonance with UGC Regulations. In the face of the fact that respondent No. 5, who is a Science graduate with Chemistry, Botany and Biotechnology, with BA (Additional) in English must have studied a degree of a duration of three years in one year in English language; cannot become eligible for appointment as a Teacher to teach English to the students of Class VI to VIII.”
Court rues diluting standard of education
“Only a great teacher can mould a great student”, said Justice Siradhana as he rued the falling standard of education in India.
“Diluting the educational standards and allowing the candidates for appointment as teachers of the subject which they have not studied as “optional for three years” and treating one year “additional degree” in the subject concerned as good and sufficient educational qualification would destroy the standard of education whatever of it is left. Extremely, important is the role of a Teacher not only in the society but also to the nation for a teacher alone can inculcate goods skills and intellectual capabilities in the students.
“A teacher imparts not only knowledge but also awakens the child to cultural and moral values with scientific temperament. Teacher is the person who moulds the career, character and moral fibre with scientific approach in the young minds. Hence, a teacher who himself has not studied the subject which he is to teach; if appointed would be damaging to the very concept of quality education. A teacher is often called nation builder for he is the one who moulds the young minds. Hence, quality of a teacher is directly proportional to quality education. Untrained or ill-trained teacher in the concerned subject, will be detrimental to the entire education system which in turn will be an irreparable loss to the nation.
“Therefore, need for quality teachers, who have studied the subject which they are supposed to teach is, sine qua non for quality education,” said Justice Siradhana.
He directed the government to “exclude the participating candidates from the select list with degree acquired as “additional” in the concerned subject. The candidates who are in possession of graduate degree with the optional subject of three-year Bachelor’s degree with English as an optional subject in all the three years should only be treated as eligible and entitled for appointment to the post of Teacher Grade- III Level-II (English), as per their merit”.
India only above Kyrgyztan in Intl student assessment
While deciding the petitions, the court referred to the Programme in International Student Assessment (PISA), which conducted a survey testing 15 years olds from 74 nations. The result “reflects that Shanghai is at the top in the ranking while Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, found place at serial number 73 out of 74, only above Kyrgyzstan which has a geographical area less than State of Maharashtra”.
“The poor quality of Indian Education has also been reflected by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). According to the report, 50% of Class V students cannot read textbooks of Class II standard and 40% of Class V students failed to solve a two-digit subtraction. Further, the report also reflected absenteeism of the students to the extent of 50% and the teachers were not far behind with 45% absenteeism,” noted the court.
During the arguments, the petitioners referred to UGC (Minimum Standards of Instruction for the Grant of First Degree Through Formal Education), Regulations, 2003 which said that no student would be eligible for the award of the ‘First Degree’, unless he/she has successfully completed a programme of not less than three year degree duration and secured the minimum number of credits prescribed by the University for award of degree.
It was further pointed out that the degree to be awarded may be called the Bachelor’s degree in the respective discipline in accordance with nomenclature specified by the UGC under Section 22(3) of the UGC Act of 1956. Therefore, the inclusion of the candidates, in the recruitment process for appointment to the post of Teacher Grade-III (Level-II) (Class VI to VIII), with the corresponding language as an additional subject, is illegal.
The government had, in its counter-affidavit, supported its stand in including the participating candidates with corresponding language as an additional subject as eligible for appointment to the post of Teacher Grade-III (Level-II) while submitting that “the participating candidates who have acquired the degree of graduation, with the corresponding language as an additional subject, cannot be treated ineligible for some of the participants on the basis of that additional qualification, have also acquired Master’s Degree in the corresponding language”.