The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 extending the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment by four years.
The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Under the new Act, the teachers who do not possess the minimum qualifications as on March 31, 2015 will acquire the minimum qualifications within a period of four years -- that is, by March 31, 2019.
The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill.
Replying to a three-hour long discussion on the Bill in Rajya Sabha, Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said that learning outcomes are important and have been defined.
He said the teachers have been provided with handbooks and parents would be provided with pamphlets detailing what a student in a particular standard is supposed to know.
Noting that teachers can get the prescribed qualification using the Swayam portal, Javadekar said there were about six lakh teachers with inadequate qualifications in the private sector alone.
"Concerns have been raised how 11 lakh teachers will be trained in two years? They will be trained through online and offline courses," he said.
According to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which came into force on April 1, 2010, a teacher, who did not possess minimum qualifications, was required to acquire them in five years.
The Act was enacted to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the age of six and 14 years.
The central government subsequently received requests from states for extension of the period to enable them complete the training process for in-service untrained teachers.
Teachers should register on the Swayam portal and they will also be provided hands-on experience by the respective state governments, he said.
Swayam is a government-initiated programme designed to achieve access, equity and quality in education.
Javadekar admitted that it is a fact that enrolment in government schools is declining by four per cent annually while that in private schools it is increasing by eight per cent annually.
"We accept it as a challenge to uplift the government schools to a level where in a healthy competition our government schools will beat private schools and we will achieve it with your help," he said.
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