Speaking to India Today, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said problem lies with the deployment of available teachers because most teachers do not want to work in rural areas.
Q. Shiksha Mitras held huge protests in UP recently...
A. A large number of teachers were appointed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RTE. It's impossible to confirm all of them at one go. Since education is a state subject, every state has its own rules. However, the Centre had mandated TET as a qualification. The appointment of those who did not clear TET has now been reversed in UP. The government has organized a second TET exam. After RTE, teachers were given the option of getting a diploma in education. Some 4-5 lakh teachers did, but another 15 lakh did not. Now they have been given another chance, till 2019.
Q. Last December, you told Parliament there were close to nine lakh primary school teacher vacancies.
A. That is not true. The student teacher ratio should be 30, so there are enough teachers. The problem is in their deployment. No one wants to go to rural areas, so the shortage seems starker there. That is why we have instructed all states to ensure proper deployment.
Q. Are there more vacancies in UP and Bihar?
A. No, you are not counting the Shiksha Mitras.
Q. What concrete steps is the Centre taking on primary education? Is the RTE being reviewed?
A. We are not reviewing RTE, we are in fact strengthening it. We have defined learning outcomes. On the basis of these, a National Assessment Survey was done on November 13, which will henceforth be an annual exercise.
Q. The states complain that they do not have enough funds for primary education.
A. That is not so. In 2014, states used to get Rs 3 lakh crore, which has gone up to Rs 6 lakh crore now. The 14th Finance Commission had recommended that allocation for education be increased 10 per cent every year. States that aren't doing so are the ones now complaining.