This year, in many teacher training institutes, a number of seats for the two-year course have remained vacant

At a District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) in the State, only around 70 students are pursuing the two-year Diploma in Teacher Education (D.T.Ed), despite their being nearly 100 seats.

This has been the trend in many teacher training institutes (TTIs) this year, according to officials, despite an increase in the number of candidates applying for the course in government and aided institutes.

Though the number of candidates applying to DIETs, government and aided TTI’s went up marginally compared to 2012, there has been an overall decline in interest in the course over the years, say experts. The minimum qualification for D.T.Ed is class XII.

According to an official of the State Council for Educational Research and Training, which conducts the counselling for the course, 1,999 of the 2,400 seats at the DIETs, 245 of the 280 seats at the government TTIs and 1,279 of the 2,100 seats at government- aided TTIs were filled in July this year. In self-financing institutes, 5,263 seats of roughly 38,000 seats were filled. The overall trend has left many seats vacant.

An official said self-financing teacher training institutes are withdrawing gradually from offering the course. “Interest among candidates is on the decline because employment opportunities are fewer. Besides, there are several qualified D.T.Ed candidates already waiting for employment,” an official said, adding that almost all candidates who had applied this year got selected.

Candidates who have completed the course can sit for Paper I of the Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test (TNTET), which is the qualifying examination meant for those intending to teach classes I-V. Qualifying TNTET has been made mandatory for appointment as teacher in classes I-VIII in government-run schools.

A principal of a government institute noted that previously secondary grade teachers who completed D.T.Ed could handle classes I to VIII, which then got restricted to class V. “This could be one of the reasons. The decline started 2-3 years back. Most in government institutes opt for Tamil medium and aim for appointments in government schools,” the principal said.

The pass percentage is also low, sources said. “On an average, 50 per cent students passed last year. Some of the students are those who have passed class XII in the second attempt which means that they have struggled with class XII itself,” the principal said. For many, TET and its difficulty level are additional stumbling blocks.

A TRB official said there are around 1,000 vacancies for secondary grade teachers now. Secondary grade teachers are currently recruited based on employment seniority as well as TET scores as a case is pending in the Supreme Court.

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