The original date for Bihar Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) was 11t June 2017, which was postponed first to 29 June and then to 23 July. Thankfully, the exam did take place on 23rd and was not postponed further.
TET is conducted both by the Central Government, and several state governments in order to check whether the candidates who have cleared various professional teachers’ training programmes in India possess the requisite knowledge and training for teaching in the primary sections of government schools. In a lot of cases, various private schools, too, demanded that those applying for various teaching posts clear the examination so as to provide a level playing field for applicants from various colleges and teachers’ training institutions.
Their demand is justifiable especially because a lot of candidates today get fake degrees, or do not attend classes yet pass the examinations at university levels. The TET is aimed to weed out those tricksters and allow the candidates with real potential to enter the field of education as teachers.
However, the candidates who had applied for Bihar TET were up a stump when they saw the question paper – it was only in Hindi. The questions were not given in the bilingual format, which is generally followed by all such examinations in India. Usually, the regional language of the state (or Hindi) and English are the languages used to give the questions. This came as a surprise because the online application form and the admit cards were both in Hindi and in English. The TET website also gives the information related to the format in Hindi.
However, it was not mentioned anywhere on the website that the exam itself would be conducted only in Hindi. It is to be noted that the Hindi used in the question paper was not easy Hindi. It used a lot of technical terms and candidates who have studied for their teachers’ training programmes in English medium were not be able to follow the questions themselves. Most of the candidates in the examination hall were at a loss when it came to deciphering the Hindi terms for “longitude” and “latitude” (in the Social Science section) or the theorems (in the Mathematics and Science section).
We do understand that the medium of instruction in Bihar Board is Hindi. Hence, teachers who wish to apply for teaching posts in Bihar government schools need to be conversant in Hindi. However, those conducting the examination also need to understand that the teachers’ training courses held in most of the colleges in India, as well as in Bihar, use English as their medium of instruction. This is, by large, true in most of the higher technical courses imparted in India, not just for education. In some institutions, like the B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses in Jamia Millia Islamia, the mediums of instruction are Hindi, Urdu and English, but that depends on the medium of instruction the students followed in their under graduation and graduation programmes. Only those who were comfortable in Hindi or Urdu would choose for those languages as their mediums of education. The point to be noted here is “choice” – the candidates choose their own languages of instruction and education.
It is impractical to conduct a national or state level examination only in Hindi because the candidates come from various linguistic backgrounds and diverse mediums of instruction. The question paper in Bihar TET should have been both in Hindi and English. A candidate solving a Math or Science question, or even a scientific Geography question, would not follow the Sanskritised or scientific Hindi terms taught in Hindi medium schools.
The Logical Indian community requests the government of Bihar, and various state governments conducting TET, to look into this matter of bilingualism in question papers, keeping in mind that most professional trainings in our country are imparted in the English language, not Hindi or ano other vernacular. In the absence of this, a lot of deserving candidates will lose the opportunity to apply for government posts in various states.
Points to ponder
- Why was it not clearly mentioned anywhere on the website that the examination would be held only in Hindi medium?
- There should have been a choice to take the examination in the language one was comfortable in or in which the candidate has studied in his or her graduation and under graduation. This should have been provided while filling the form itself.
- When the teachers’ training programs are conducted in English, why was the question paper not bilingual?
- What about those candidates who wanted to clear the examination to teach in English medium in private schools and not government schools?