SANJOY KUMAR HAZARIKA
DERGAON, June 3 - The poor infrastructure of the basic training centres (BTC) in the state has adversely hit teachers’ training at the elementary level.
A total of 19 BTCs are at present offering services under the Directorate of State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), a state wing of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
SCERT Assam was set up in 1985. It conducts the 23 district institutes of education and training (DIET) along with some other educational institutes working for elementary education.
The BTCs were established following the basic education concept of Mahatma Gandhi.
The first BTC was set up at Kokrajhar in 1948 and then at Dudhnoi in Goalpara district in the same year.
After that, a few more were established and during 1950s and 60s, several centres were established. The basic training courses were started in 1958-59. The centres were full of trainees, especially service trainees of elementary education upto 1990. But after that, the government kept the centres idle till 2016.
During that period, the services of the BTCs were widely appreciated and recognised as essential in the field of elementary education.
But during the last few years the centres have been neglected by the government on all fronts, from training facility to infrastructure development.
According to the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2010, all the teachers at the elementary level must be trained personnel. No untrained teacher will be allowed to continue service after March 2019, as per rules.
For this, diploma in elementary education (DElEd) was started in regular, open and distance learning mode and both the courses were allowed to start in the BTCs with a intake capacity of 50 for lower primary teachers in regular mode, and 100 per batch in ODL mode in lower and upper primary level.
Due to lack of proper infrastructure in the BTCs, the principals as well as the coordinators of the courses have to face a lot of difficulties to accommodate the large number of teacher trainees in ODL mode under SCERT and national open schooling (NIOS).
The president of All Assam Elementary Teacher Educators’ Association (AAETEA) and the Principal of Dalgaon BTC in Mangaldai Tapan Hazarika told The Assam Tribune that the state government had so long played an indifferent role against the BTCs.
“Without offering even minimum infrastructural support and change of service role, the BTCs, including the minimum standards of teaching staff have been compelled to do more work,” the president rued.
“Though these are heritage institutions of elementary education, but after the DIET has come up, the government has been showing a step-motherly attitude,” Hazarika said.
He also pointed out that the concerned buildings after 50 years of constant service warrants repair and renovation, while most of the buildings are over 60 years old.
The Principal of Dudhnoi BTC in Goalpara, Brezinarch Marak said that the last petty financial grant for maintenance of building was sanctioned in 2010.
“Further, we also have to face a severe shortage of desks and benches for holding regular classes if the number of students increase due to some other courses allotted under SCERT or NIOS,” Usha Mahanta, Principal of Dergaon BTC in Golaghat district said.
She also said that due to non-sanction of repair funds, she had to face serious problems for running the institute.
In spite of repeated attempts, the Director of SCERT could not be contacted for his comments on the issue.