No teaching in school without clearing teacher eligibility test: Madras High Court

It was mandatory for teachers who hadn’t passed TET prior to the RTE Act, 2009, to clear the exam within nine years, by March 31, 2019, the judge noted.

Published: 08th April 2022 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2022 07:44 AM   |  A+A-

Candidates attempting Teachers' Eligibility Test

Candidates attempting Teachers' Eligibility Test. (File photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Teachers who haven't cleared the teacher eligibility test (TET), as mandated by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act), are not entitled to keep working in educational institutions, the Madras High Court said on Thursday.

Now, the future of about 1,500 teachers in government-aided schools has become uncertain, as per an estimate by the Tamil Nadu Teachers' Association.

"All these teachers were appointed in 2011-12, and haven’t got any increment since. We request the government to conduct a special test for them to retain their jobs," said the association's president PK Ilamaran. Tamil Nadu has conducted TET five times since 2012, the last being in 2019.

Dismissing a batch of petitions filed by BT Assistants, Justice D Krishnakumar said that though it's been 12 years since the RTE Act came into effect, teachers have remained in service without meeting the eligibility criterion of passing TET as per Section 23 of the RTE Act, 2009, and the RTE (Amendment Act), 2017.

It was mandatory for teachers who hadn't passed TET prior to the RTE Act, 2009, to clear the exam within nine years, by March 31, 2019, the judge noted. "Thus, teachers who do not possess the minimum qualification of pass in TET are not entitled to continue their service in schools/educational institutions," he added, and directed the authorities to ensure "strict compliance" with the instructions issued by the School Education Secretary dated May 2, 2019.

'Conduct test yearly'

The court ordered the school education department to conduct TET once a year to enable teachers to qualify. However, it gave the department the liberty to seek an appropriate remedy by approaching the Union education ministry.

The petitioners, who were employed before the RTE Act was enforced, had approached the court seeking disbursal of annual increments and incentive increments


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