Shillong: The Meghalaya Teachers Eligibility Test is slowly becoming an administrative headache for the Meghalaya government, with the number of teachers required much lower than the candidates who have cleared the entrance.
A total of 2,900 LP (lower primary) teachers and 1,670 UP (upper primary) teachers cleared the exams and are eligible for jobs, but the state has vacancies for only 1,538 LP posts and 132 UP posts.
So far, only 240 and 16 qualified candidates have been appointed for the vacant LP and UP posts respectively.
“MTET is one criterion for appointing a candidate into any school. MTET does not mean that they will teach only in a government school. The teachers need the MTET result even in an SSA or private school that receives government grants, ” stated Rymbui.
He also informed that 1,190 contractual teachers have been terminated. However, the details of how many of those were above the age limit were not available.
NPP MLA Rakkam M Sangma mentioned that in his constituency, Rongaru Siju, about 23 schools would be left without teachers.
“The exercise to conduct MTET will take another six months. So the government should reconsider its response and allow these temporary teachers to continue till the next MTET, else the schools may shutdown with no teachers,” said Rakkam.
In response to this, Rymbui said that the government would make necessary arrangements.
MLA Hima Shangpliang pointed to the High Court order issued on December 2, 2020 which said that the next MTET exam would be conducted by the department by March-April 2021. “How can the Minister say that they are waiting for a notification to conduct the exams?” Asked Shangpliang.
Rymbui clarified that exams couldn’t be held due to the dates clashing with the upcoming Garo Hills Autonomous Council (GHADC) elections.
National Congress Party MLA Saleng Sangma highlighted the children from the financially-challenged section, expressing concern at the fate of these students who can’t afford to go to private schools.
Shangpliang further asked if those candidates who failed the MTET exam will be allowed to sit for the exam again, to which Rymbui stated that those who meet the criteria can still sit for the exam.
Concerning the MTET tenure, Rymbui said it is seven years, but there is a clause. “We will try to conduct the exam sub-division or division wise so that the candidates who have passed will not be deprived,” stated Rymbui.
MLA Ferlin Sangma highlighted how most of the candidates who would be suffering would be from Garo Hills.
She said that in the East Garo Hills, the availability is 62, but only 50 candidates cleared the MTET whereas in West Garo Hills, there are 213 who have cleared MTET, but the availability is 264.
Several legislators had urged the education minister to do away with MTET. Some of them expressed concerns over how many of the contract candidates lost their jobs.
Several contractual teachers in the state are also over the age limit and have been on contract for more than 11 years. It was just last year that the Meghalaya government decided to make MTET mandatory.
It is also worth mentioning that the LP Schools Contractual Teachers Association sat on an indefinite hunger strike to coerce the government to not terminating them. They had also demanded that the government should reconsider their age since many of them were overaged.
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma had also recently mentioned that the state had no option but needed to regularise the teachers.