There has been no decision whatsoever on National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)'s proposal to reduce the duration of Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) courses in B.Ed colleges in India from two years to one year. The duration of B. Ed course was extended from 1 year to two years in 2014. Since then, the number of applications for B. Ed courses in B. Ed colleges in India, especially in B.Ed Colleges in Mumbai, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal etc. has gone down drastically. It seems that the initiative taken by NCTE did not yield positive results as most of the students are not joining in B.Ed course.
A committee had been formed in 2015 to study ‘infirmities and anomalies' in the NCTE Regulations 2014. The committee had asked for feedback from public and stakeholders regarding the duration of B.Ed course. The people were supposed to send their feedback to NCTE on or before October 30, 2016. However, educational institutes were of the opinion that increasing the B. Ed course duration is detrimental to the number of B. Ed applications as no one wants to invest 2 years in a course that can easily be completed in one year. They were of the opinion that only if B. Ed colleges started their academic year o time, the one year B. Ed course period was enough.
Amidst all this, the Union Government had even suggested conducting a national level common entrance exam for B. Ed similar to NEET UG.
Advantages of B. Ed Common Entrance Exam:
- If imposed, there wll be several benefits. There is a huge disparity from B.Ed institution to institution in terms of completion of B. Ed syllabus, conducting regular B. Ed exams and announcement of B. Ed exam results. Furthermore, there are numerous colleges who have still not closed the B. Ed admissions and students have been left in jeopardy. With implementation of a single B. Ed entrance exam, all these problems will be resolved.
- From an organisation point of view too, having a single entrance exam for B. Ed will be advantageous as the B. Ed results will be announced on the same date, issuing of B. Ed certificates will become much easier and B. Ed placements can also happen in a systematic manner.
- In addition, with a single curriculum, the pedagogy of the B. Ed course will be styreamlined across the nation.
However, some of the college management were of the opinion that ever since B.Ed course was changed into a duration of two years, students are not joining the course and the demand has declined gradually.
Disadvantages of two-year B. Ed course in India:
- Course fees doubled: Students are unwilling to pay double the fees for the same curriculum stating that that ROI for B. Ed courses is not sufficient
- Loss of year: With a mandatory 2-year B. Ed programme, the applicants will be set a year behind their original year of employment, not acceptable to many.
- No Change in Degree Awarded: With an increase in the number of years for B. Ed courses, it makes more sense to the students, if they are awarded a superior degree, and not just be at par with a 1-year B. Ed degree.
In Maharashtra, the demand for B.Ed course declined and around 70% of seats are vacant. The teachers also demanded to scrap common entrance test for the admission to B.Ed course. They pointed that the duration of B.Ed course has barred many students to taking up the course. The minimum qualification for B.Ed is Bachelor’s degree. Hence, the students are not willing to waste an extra year for studying B.Ed.
Similarly, self-financing private B. Ed colleges in Kerala are on the verge of closure for lack of students. Of 190 colleges, including government, private and university centres, 37 private colleges have already shut down. In fact, the number of B. Ed admissions in 2017 in Kerala witnessed a dip by one-third of the total strength!
NCTE had increased the duration of B.Ed course in 2014 and did not make any developments in the curriculum. The syllabus which was taught in one year is being taught in two years.
Around 60% of B.Ed seats are vacant in Andhra Pradesh too. At this juncture, the government has granted permission to 149 new colleges. However, Tamil Nadu received a good response for B.Ed course this year. Around 90% seats have been filled.