The countdown has begun for the first Teacher Eligibility Test to be conducted by the Teacher Recruitment Board (TRB) on June 3. From model question papers uploaded by the TRB on its website and model papers brought out by private publishers, to coaching institutes offering weekend classes, many candidates seem to be availing of all the help that is possible to crack TET.

The test is mandatory for secondary grade teachers and graduate assistants appointed for government, aided and unaided institutions on and after August 23, 2010, as mandated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

While over six lakh candidates are expected to take the TET, book publishers, who were expecting to cash in on the huge number of takers, don't think it has converted into sales for them. A majority of the candidates feel that since this is the first such test, and exam guidelines say the pattern is based on the State government syllabus, it is best to study for the respective class textbooks.

Subash Kanda, MD, Sura Books, one of the publishers, says there was more response for paper-II, especially for science but sales for most publishers have only been lukewarm. “Publishers have made money, but not for the massive number of takers that this exam is projected to draw. If a publisher has sold 10,000 books it is good enough,” says he said.

Candidates appearing for the exam say there has been no dearth of coaching institutes too. At least 15 such institutions offer coaching for the test, with many candidates going to Kancheepuram for weekend programmes.

K. Shakthivel, a Ph.D. student who will be appearing for TET, and is studying on his own, says the biggest challenge for most of students is Tamil and English papers. “Both are mandatory, and candidates who have studied in Tamil medium find English tough, while those who have studied in English medium have difficulty in Tamil,” he says. There are also other concerns worrying candidates. Both B. Ed and D.T.Ed students say the TET is scheduled right between their year-end exams, and as different patterns are followed, they are caught in a difficult situation.

“My first preference is to clear the PGTRB exam for MSc. (B.Ed) programme, but I am left with only one week after that to prepare for TET,” says D. Hemavathy, a lecturer in a B.Ed. college.

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