Scrapping BEd degree to get appointment as a primary school teacher invites mixed reactions from academicians

By Aditya Wadhawan
The decision of SC will make it mandatory to have a diploma in elementary education for those students who wish to be appointed as primary school teachers
The Supreme Court (SC) recently quashed the 2018 notification of the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) which specified BEd as the mandatory qualification for the appointment of primary school teachers. The notification confirms that primary school teachers will now require a Diploma in Elementary Education (D El Ed) instead of a BEd degree. The SC bench felt that the BEd degree did not have the requisite pedagogical skills to handle primary students. Christ University in Bangalore offers a course in BEd. However, SC has recently granted temporary relief to the BEd degree holders in Chhattisgarh. The apex court has stayed an order of the Chhattisgarh HC which had excluded BEd candidates from the recruitment process for assistant teachers. This decision was taken by the Chhattisgarh High Court due to SC’s quashing of the 2018 notification of NCTE.
Speaking to Education Times, Pankaj Arora, Dean (Education), DU, says, “BEd and DEI Ed have some differences in the curriculum and pedagogies, specifically with respect to understanding of learners, learning theories and pedagogical approaches. The BEd programme provides a comprehensive understanding of a child from 0 to 18 years, it is more rigorous as compared to DEIEd offering a deeper understanding of the teaching pedagogies, language background of students, nature of classroom discourse, and informational reading and writing.”
Unfortunately, the states could not create provisions for the six-month training of the teachers as recommended by NCTE. Before deciding to discontinue the validity of BEd for getting appointed as a primary school teacher, stakeholders should have been given a time of six months. “During these six months, an online or offline module could have been made to provide the requisite pedagogical skills that are essential for the BEd degree holders to be deemed fit to handle the students in the primary wing. BEd students who completed their courses in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 will not be able to apply to primary schools,” says Arora.
Teacher education is being reviewed in NEP 2020 which has proposed a new programme for teachers’ education under the Integrated Teachers Education Programme (ITEP). “This programme will prepare the teachers for all four stages of school education as per the new teaching structure of school life,” adds Arora.
Anil Joseph Pinto, registrar, Christ University, Bangalore which offers BEd courses, says, “The decision of SC is justified as the approach for teaching high school students is very different from that which is used for the students of primary school. The present BEd curriculum taught across the country is primarily geared towards preparing teacher trainees to teach adolescents and it is not designed to teach primary school children. The pattern used for teaching primary school and high school learners differs in approach, pedagogy, and assessment.”
Snehal Gajanan Phodase, principal, Smt SK Somaiya Junior College of Education, Mumbai, affiliated to SCERT, Maharashtra, which offers a course in DElEd, says, “DEIEd trains to specifically teach the young students, as part of their internships, they are even sent to the many schools to teach the students of primary classes which gives them a first-hand experience of how to handle the small kids. The essential component of ‘classroom control’ is given importance which enables the students to understand the psychology of the small kids. This makes the students pursuing a diploma better equipped to handle small kids as compared to their BEd counterparts. Hence, the SC has taken the right decision which would further make the teaching qualitative at the primary schooling.”

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