The Rajya Sabha passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which aims to provide a two-year window to around 11 lakh private and government teachers to get prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.
Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Bill was being amended as the 2009 Act, which came into force on April 1, 2010, teachers without professional qualification were required to get them by 2015.
"In absence of the qualification, we couldn't have sacked 11 lakh teachers, which includes seven lakh private teachers or do injustice to children.
The RTE bill gives them an opportunity to acquire professional qualification by enrolling themselves in the Swayam platform, which will be an online medium. Those living in rural areas would be taught through Swayam Prabha television channels in 32 languages, and they would have to buy a set top box worth ₹ 1300. For this we have already signed a memorandum of understanding with Doordarshan," said Mr. Javadekar.
There will be a moderate registration fee and course material will also be given in hard copy as well as in CD, while 12 days' face-to-face training in a year has also been planned, he said. Javadekar said that a four-year integrated teachers training course is on the anvil, which will be launched soon.
"22 members participated in the debate and supported. This proves that education is not a political agenda, it is a national agenda," the minister observed.
On members' concern about the poor quality of teachers and government schools, he said the government has thought of five initiatives to address the problem.
Firstly, the learning outcome for school children has been codified and defined, and a handbook been given to schools and a poster will be put in schools by month-end. Also, parents will be given the same so that they are aware and there is accountability on this aspect, he said and urged members to visit schools in their constituencies and see if there see any change.
In the absence of systematic evaluation of children of Class 5-8, many schools have become midday schools. So, exams are to be held now, he added.
Barring census and election duty, no other non-academic work is assigned to teachers, Javadekar said.