Lok Sabha

July 23, 2018

Saugata Roy speaks on The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Saugata Roy speaks on The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017


Madam, it is somehow surprising that after the full House we saw during the No-Confidence Motion debate on Friday, we have such an empty House today. This does not bode well for our democracy.

I support The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Union HRD Minister is in charge of all education – from KG to PG – and he presented two Bills within five days of this Session. Only, I do not know how our friend Upendra Kushwaha Ji is fairing, whether he has been given any job by the Minister, because I read in the paper that he is unhappy and thinking of joining the Mahagathbandhan. But that is another side of politics.

In this Bill, there is nothing to object. This (Bill) seeks to grant retrospective recognition to institutions, provided further that the institutions are funded by the Central, State and Union Territory Governments. They have offered a course of training on or after the appointed date, till academic year 2017-2018 and fulfil the conditions. It also seeks to grant retrospective permission to start a new course in training in teachers’ education to the institution, provided again the course was offered till the academic year 2017-2018 by the education and if the course is funded by the Central, State and Union Territory Governments.

There is no problem as far as this is concerned. This is actually a small Bill. Only 20 institutions are covered because they had not applied in time for the recognition from the National Council of Teachers’ Education.

As you know Madam, that for National Council of Teachers’ Education, the first Bill was brought in 1993 during PV Narasimha Rao’s time and it came into effect in 1995. Now, all teachers’ training colleges have to be registered with the Council. Iit has got a regional committee and a central committee which runs the whole thing. There is no problem. I may remind you that after education became a Concurrent subject, the Central Government tried to involve itself in primary education. In 1986, during Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the first National Education Policy was enunciated. During Narasimha Rao’s time, one very important initiative was taken in primary education – which was introducing the mid-day meal for students in primary education, extended up to class eight. This reduced the level of dropouts especially in the rural areas.

During the NDA time, the Sarvashikha Abhiyan was launched by Dr Murali Manohar Joshi who unfortunately is in the bad books of the present dispensation; he is not being given the respect. Sarvashikha Abhiyan gave money to the States so that the schools would have additional classrooms. You must have gone around the schools in your area, Madam, and you must have seen that many schools have rooms built with the money of Sarvashikha Abhiyan. Now that part is over, now Sarvashikha Abhiyan is supposed to help in improving teachers’ education and other things.

You know Madam in our State, students in primary schools don’t have to pay any tuition fees, their books are free, their uniforms are free, they are even given by the Mamata Banerjee Government, black shoes and they have got midday meal. You may know we have a programme in which students of classes IX-XII have been given cycles under Sabuj Sathi scheme where 70 lakh cycles have already been distributed. So that money has come to the students. The other day, Supriya Sule and I spoke about the Right to Education Bill. There we mentioned the NCERT report that in spite of all this money going into primary and secondary education, the standard of it is not rising sufficiently.

The learning ability of students with regard to languages was very poor. The learning ability of students with regard to mathematics was also very poor, as Ms Sule just reminded me. Now, how do we improve the standard? The only way is to impart teachers’ education. And what are the courses for teachers’ education? B. Ed or Diploma in Education. Now this Bill takes into account only the institutions which were not receiving —

Chair: Saugata Da, one thing, is there any teachers’ training institution in the Ol Chiki language?

Saugata Roy: That is very important question, Madam

Chair: Where will they go after graduate and postgraduate degree? They have no B. Ed. degree, that’s why they are not getting the chance for SSC examinations.

Saugata Roy: Madam as always, you are showing a lot of perspicacity, you have grasp on the situation and your question is for the Minister to reply to that question, whether for Santhali language, Ol Chiki language this permission is given.

Now, I was saying two things to the hon Minister. One is that most of these teachers’ education is in the private sector. You must be knowing that out of 20,000 teachers’ education colleges, only 2, 500 are government-owned; 17,000 and more are private and they are calling themselves self-financing colleges. And they are extorting big money from the students to get admission as there is very limited number of seats in government colleges and universities. All these private institutions teaching B. Ed. are a racket. I would urge the Minister to take steps so that these racketeering in teachers’ education stops, because I see the pathetic spectacle of young students, graduates, postgraduates hankering for a seat in a B. Ed. College; they say we are not able to pay the fees in private colleges.

Chair: What about the quality of education in the private institutions?

Saugata Roy: I’ll come to that Madam. It is very important to ensure the quality of education in these private institutions. But Mr Javadekar knows most of these B.Ed colleges do not have the NAAC accreditation, if they had NAAC accreditation then you would know that they have a certain standard. But now this NAAC accreditation for teachers’ training institutes must be made compulsory; unless we raise the standard of teachers’ education, their teaching-learning ability, how will you improve the standards of the students? So in spite of dropout rates falling in the country, in spite of more students going to school the level and standards have not risen to the extent possible.

Now, I was telling earlier that Mr Javadekar is the man to whom the Prime Minister has given the task of dealing with education from KG to PG. He is trying to bring in many changes. He is trying to jettison the UGC; that is his choice. He is trying to declare institutions of excellence – even institutions like Jio, which have not yet been established. I have no objection. Let him try. Every minister has the right to try innovations; whether they are accepted by the people is another factor.

So having said that, I say it’s right you should give more attention.

Javadekar Ji, last time we supported your Bill and supported your efforts but I think that you need to go through the NCERT reports about the quality of education and take positive steps for improving the standards, specially of language teaching and mathematics teaching. Please eliminate racketeering in these private B.Ed colleges so that they do not earn astronomical money.

Javadekar ji I have one question, which I wanted to ask you. In my constituency, which is a suburb of Kolkata city there are no students in government-run primary schools – though we have free education from class 1 to 12 – there are many schools where the teachers are getting salary but there are no students or only handful of students. You know why? You will see this in Serampore also. This is because of English medium schools. I do not know what has gone into our people’s head that they are not going for the government-run free schools but are queuing up from the night to get children into English medium schools. All this happening because of the craze for English education. Parents believe if they want to see their children getting a job they need to do their education through English medium. I have suggested to my State Government that why don’t we have English medium section in government-run schools. If we want to draw back students from the private institutions to the government-funded institutions then you have to think of a language policy.

This a question which has been bothering me as an MP, and as a former teacher. Why are our government schools going empty in spite of giving so many benefits by the government? With this word I would like to thank you Madam for giving me the time. And, I support the Bill.