The Madras High Court on Thursday, April 07, 2022, gave an important ruling with respect to the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET). Accordingly, all teachers who have not passed the TET examination cannot continue their teaching job. The judgment was announced by Justice D Krishnakumar who dismissed all writ petitions filed in court. The judge further stated that the authorities concerned must ensure compliance with the criteria issued by the School Education Secretary. These criteria have been clearly mentioned in the letter dated May 02, 2019.
Justice Krishnakumar further stated that strict action must be taken against those who do not comply with the instructions issued by the secretary. Every year, the central and state education boards conduct their own dedicated TETs for eligible candidates who wish to pursue a career in teaching. Those who clear the test are awarded the eligibility certificate, permitting them to teach in affiliated institutes.
‘Ensure strict complaince of NCTE guidelines.’Justice Krishnakumar
While announcing the judgment, Justice Krishnakumar stated that the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) had issued certain guidelines in February 2021. In accordance with these guidelines, a TET exam must be conducted every year for encouraging teachers to prove their eligibility and continue their career path.
Teacher Allowed to Continue Service Without Clearing TET
The Justice acknowledged a significant lapse of many years before the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was enacted. However, concerned authorities have not complied with the provisions in the RTE. They have allowed the petitioners and other teachers to continue service despite without fulfilling the basic eligibility criterion – passing the TET exam, as stated in Section 23 of the act, and the amendment of 2017.
Interestingly, candidates who did not pass the TET exam had to do so in the next nine years i.e., by March 2019. This was prior to 2019 RTE act passed in the parliament. Going by this logic, all those who failed to fulfill the minimum requirements cannot continue their service.
Dismissing the Petition Filed
The court on Thursday, dismissed a batch of writ petitions filed by K Vasudevan and 8 others who wanted a direction with respect to annual and incentive-based increment. They wanted the educational institution (a city-based school) to sanction the increments without considering the criterion of passing TET. They also wanted the consequential and attendant benefits offered with the agreement, as mentioned in their petition.