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 NCTE superseded, MHRD bosses to call the shots 

By Sanjiv Dube
: On July 7 late evening the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) issued a gazette notification superseding the National Council for Teacher Education for six months (NCTE).

The notification, issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy said that in exercise of powers conferred under sub-section (1) of Section 30 of the NCTE Act the government has superseded the NCTE for a period of six months.

In a separate order, issued on July 8, the MHRD said that Ms Anshu Vaish, Secretary, School Education and Literacy has been appointed  Chairperson of NCTE and that Joint Secretary R P Sisodia, Department of Higher Education, would be the Member-Secretary. All powers and duties of the NCTE would now be carried out by officials appointed by the MHRD, the order said.

Explaining the rationale behind the July 7 notification the MHRD said that that NCTE was issued a show-cause notice citing instances where it had failed to carry out its functions, and had “consistently defaulted” in its duties ignoring the directions issued by the MHRD.

The NCTE was given a months time to explain things. In its reply, NCTE admitted that “there have been gross procedural lapses in processing of cases (for recognition) in terms of non-preparation of comprehensive agenda, intimation of deficiencies on the proposals to institutions within specified time-frame and lack of supervision and monitoring.”

The NCTE asked MHRD to reconsider the move to supersede it and also pleaded that the non-compliance of the government’s directions was not “wilful”.  However the government felt the reply was not convincing as NCTE had failed consistently, and therefore was taking over its functions.

All members of the NCTE — whether their term is over or not — were asked to vacate office. Chairperson M A Siddiqui, whose removal was earlier ordered by the HRD minister, has already gone to the Delhi high court.

The ministry’s action comes after two high-powered committees submitted their reports. The committees, set up by the MHRD, looked into the functioning of the Western Regional Centre (WRC) and Northern Regional Centre (NRC) of NCTE.

In case of WRC, it was found that it gave recognition to teacher training institutes against the wishes of the Governments of Maharashtra and other states in the western region. The state Governments argued that there were not only too many such institutes but those being given recognition lacked quality. Even HRD ministry had said that any fresh proposal for recognition be sent to Delhi, but WRC defied the order and gave recognition to nearly 300 new institutions. The matter went to the Bombay High Court which cancelled the recognition of 291 institutions. Their promoters went in appeal to the Supreme Court that has set up a committee under former chief justice of India J S Varma.

Another MHRD-appointed committee that looked into the functioning of NRC found massive irregularities in grant of recognition to teacher training institutes and even disregard for the parent organization.

Irregularities and corruption in NRC had its impact on teacher education in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Chandigarh, all of which fall under its jurisdiction. The panel had recommended repatriation of the current regional director, action against errant officials and reconstitution of NRC.


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