‘Treated as losers’: Teacher recruitment delays make youths wait years for jobs, marriage, independence

Changing policies, exam delays, paper leaks have forced thousands of B.Ed, D.El.Ed-holding teaching job aspirants to put their lives on hold.

The continuous change in government policies for teacher-training and recruitment has resulted in aspirants preparing for years. (Representative Image: PTI)The continuous change in government policies for teacher-training and recruitment has resulted in aspirants preparing for years. (Representative Image: PTI)

Sanjay | February 27, 2024 | 02:41 PM IST

NEW DELHI: After resisting marriage for two years, Niharika Mishra had to accept her fate. She had wanted to become a government school teacher and financially independent before marriage. But that was not to be.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mishra from Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharthnagar district earned a diploma in Elementary Education (DElEd) in 2019. She cleared the qualifying examinations for teaching – the Central Teaching Eligibility Test (CTET) and Uttar Pradesh TET – in 2021. In 2022, she moved to Prayagraj to attend coaching classes for a year.

“As governments continue to conduct TET exams, students like me think that recruitment agencies will advertise for vacancies too. I was hoping that the UP government would advertise primary teachers (PRT) vacancies, but it did not. Due to the delay, I returned home in May 2023,” Mishra told Careers360. UP had last recruited primary teachers in 2018.

Like Mishra, lakhs of youths across states wait years for government teaching jobs after earning their teaching qualification and clearing the TET. Once jobs are advertised, they compete for a few thousand seats.

Delays in exams, results and the recruitment process, coupled with changing government policies and frequent paper leaks have left teaching aspirants unemployed for years. It has cost many women their financial independence.

Once Mishra was home, family-members and relatives kept looking for her grooms. “I had already delayed my marriage for two years. It was fixed in September 2023 and I am getting married by December 2024. Many of my friends from the coaching centre are also getting married this year,” she added.

Also read UP Police Constable exam 2024 cancelled after paper leak allegation; re-exam in 6 months

Becoming a teacher

To become a teacher in India, one has to first obtain a teaching qualification, like a BEd or a DElEd, after graduation, or the recently-launched four-year Integrated Teachers Education Programme (ITEP) after Class 12. After completing the course, the applicant has to clear the CTET or State TET to become eligible for teacher recruitment drives. If they clear the recruitment exams, they can become teachers.

Ankit Yadav from Bihar’s Saran was inspired by teachers in his neighbourhood. “They are treated with respect wherever they go,” he said. He graduated in 2014 and by 2020, had earned his BEd and cleared the CTET. In 2023, he cleared the Bihar STET.

Kamalnayan from UP’s Gonda was driven by passion. “I want to teach students to become good citizens and think about things differently,” he explained.

But for aspirants like Shiv Bahadur Jaiswal of Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli district, a government-school job means security.

paper leak, tet, up government teaching jobs, up teaching jobs, prt vacancies 2024, tgt vacancies 2024, pgt full form, tgt full form, teaching job aspirants, bed exam, teaching job teacher recruitment, teaching jobs near me, teaching positions near me, jobs for teachers, teacher vacancy near me, Primary teacher jobs, teacher vacancy near me, teacher vacancy, teaching jobs, teacher job vacancy near me, b ed, d el ed, stet, b ed course, b ed degree, deled course Shiv Bahadur Jaiswal, a teaching job aspirant from Madhya Pradesh. (Image: Special Arrangement)

“Compared to examinations of other government jobs, it is easy to pass the teachers recruitment examinations if we study properly. It also provides job security. The Covid-19 lockdown had thrown employees out of private jobs but government employees continued to get salaries,” said Jaiswal, whose father was also a teacher.

Changing policies

In 2011, the government made clearing the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) mandatory for teaching in government schools. Later, central and state governments added another recruitment exam.

The continuous change in government policies for teacher-training and recruitment has resulted in aspirants preparing for years.

Uttar Pradesh basic education minister Sandeep Singh continues to count Shiksha Mitras (para teachers) among teachers to claim that UP meets norms for pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in primary schools – one teacher for every 30 students. This has forced Mishra to pursue a BEd after earning her diploma. Once she graduates, she will be eligible for Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT) vacancies for Classes 6 to 8.

“Even though the UP government neither gives permanent status to para teachers nor equal pay, the basic education minister counts their numbers to say they have enough teachers and there will be no new PRT vacancies. What will be the use of my DElEd degree ? I am passionate about teaching and I want to maximise my chance of getting a job,” Mishra added.

In March last year, Singh informed Vidhan Sabha that the UP government had initiated teacher recruitment in government schools in two phases in 2018 and the process of recruiting 68,500 assistant teachers in the first phase has been completed. The recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers in the second phase is pending due to various pleas filed in the Allahabad High Court.

Under the recruitment process of 69,000 assistant teachers, a total of 6,696 candidates, just 9.7%, were posted in different districts from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022. No PRT vacancies were advertised in Uttar Pradesh after these two recruitment drives.

Also read 85,152 posts of headmasters and assistant teachers are vacant in Uttar Pradesh: Government

“The UP government has not advertised any teacher vacancies after 2018 but continues to grant admission in teaching courses and conducts UP-TET exams. We have given up hope that the UP government will advertise teaching posts anytime soon. A student is forced to continuously sit for the TET exam to improve their marks until governments advertise teaching vacancies,” said Rahul Vidyarthi, president of BEd Chhatra Sangharsh Morcha (BCSM), an umbrella organisation raising concerns of BEd students of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. A resident of Azamgarh, Vidyarthi completed his BEd in 2021 and cleared UP-TET and CTET in the same year.

In January 2023, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced that the government will set up an Integrated Education Service Selection Commission soon. In August, the state government approved Uttar Pradesh Education Service Selection Commission and in December, issued guidelines for the commission for recruitment of teachers in higher, secondary and basic education departments.

“There were three different selection boards for teachers recruitment at primary, secondary and higher education levels. They could not advertise or conduct and announce the result on time and now we will have one commission for teachers recruitment. One year since the announcement, it is yet to come into existence,” Vidyarthi said.

Delays, paper leak

Even when recruitment exams are announced, their processes are often delayed, sometimes for years. Madhya Pradesh’s last recruitment round was initiated in 2018 and is still going on.

“The Madhya Pradesh government conducted an exam for postgraduate teachers (PGT) recruitment for Classes 9 to 12 in August 2023 but it is yet to announce the results. The government also conducted the TET in May 2023 and we were hoping that it would advertise for TGT posts, but it hasn’t so far. After 2011, Madhya Pradesh government advertised teacher vacancies in 2018 and recruitment process for that is still going on,” Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal appealed to the government to advertise teachers vacancies every six months. “Students will continue to study with full focus and momentum,” he said, adding that guest teachers should not be counted for computing the PTR. “Either make them permanent or remove them from their posts and advertise vacancies,” he said.

Kamalnayan said that the Uttar Pradesh government announced PGT and TGT vacancies in 2021 but it is yet to conduct the exams.

“As the recruitment process gets delayed, we face economic challenges too. After a certain age, it feels humiliating to ask your parents for money as they expect us to be earning. Our parents have spent a huge amount of money on our education and we are still unemployed. We feel like we are far behind our peers who are earning in lakhs. We are treated as losers by society,” he said.

Also read Waiting a decade for teaching jobs: How West Bengal’s teacher recruitment scam blew up

If the delays weren’t bad enough, the processes are rife with issues like paper leaks.

“After I earned my DElEd in 2013, the Rajasthan government did not advertise vacancies for a long time. It conducted a recruitment exam for primary school teachers in 2018 but due to a paper leak, it was cancelled. In 2021, I cleared the exam but due to another leak, the exam was cancelled again,” said Satish Kumar from Rajasthan’s Dholpur district. After his decade-long pursuit of a teaching job failed, he is now forced to farm instead.

In 2022, the paper from another Rajasthan recruitment exam was allegedly leaked, leading to over 50 arrests, including several candidates.

In Uttar Pradesh, a leak of the UPTET paper in 2021 led to 27 arrests. The paper was held in January 2022. In Maharashtra, tampering with the TET 2020 results led to 13 arrests, including that of an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Marks of 7,800 were allegedly manipulated. The biggest scandal so far has emerged from West Bengal where manipulation of recruitment exams since 2011 led to many arrests including that of the former education minister and the head of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.

Fixed calendar

The aspirants demand a fixed calendar for declaring vacancies and holding exams. The Bihar government conducted two recruitment drives for teaching vacancies within a year and at a gap of just four months between them.

Students complained that they did not get enough time to prepare. BEd candidates were also barred from PRT jobs following a Supreme Court verdict in August.

“I sat for the recruitment exam for Classes 1 to 5 in August 2023. After the Supreme Court verdict barred BEd students from teaching primary students, our results were withheld. The BPSC conducted exams again for teachers of Classes 6 to 12 in December. I had less time to prepare and so, scored just 14 less than the cut-off. I am planning to teach in a private school till the next vacancy in August 2024. I do not want to be a burden on my family,” Yadav said.

Vidyarthi had the same experience. His result was withheld due to the SC verdict and he was unable to clear the exam for teaching senior classes.

Also read BPSC TRE 3 registration ends today for 87,774 vacancies

Lives in limbo

Once they have a teaching qualification, aspirants typically don’t look for alternatives. But entire futures, even marriages, are put on hold as a result, especially for men.

“We did not acquire any other technical skills and hence have no option but to look for a teaching job. Our compulsion and helplessness keep us going for one more attempt,” said Vidyarthi.

Government jobs are a major factor in rural and small-town marriages.

“Our families pressure us to get jobs and get married. A secure government job plays a big role in marriage. The brides’ families look for grooms with job security,” he added.

Kamalnayan added: “You cannot expect an educated and sensible girl to be your wife until and unless you have a government job.”

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