A closer look at the admission figures for the Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) courses this year reveal a shocking story. For the 60,000 seats available across the state, less than 10,000 admissions have taken place and a whopping 50,000 seats are vacant. Now, the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (MSCERT), or Vidya Pradhikaran, has announced a second ‘special’ round of admissions in a bid to fill up the vacant seats.
The admissions for the first round for D.El.Ed courses began on May 31 and five rounds of admissions were conducted online by the government until June 31. While close to 11,000-odd applications were received for the nearly 60,000 seats, only 9,800 students confirmed their seats. The bleak situation has made many D.El.Ed colleges suspend admissions for a year, while some other colleges are closing down permanently, since the number of students aspiring to pursue diploma teaching courses has been dwindling for the past few years.
“It is true that the number of students opting for a diploma in education has been decreasing over the past few years. There could be many reasons for it… maybe fewer jobs after completing the course or the fact that aspiring teachers have to clear the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET). The pass percentage for TET is low, as it is a tough test. But all these are just speculations. We have announced a special second round of admissions for the benefit of students, for those students who may opt for this course in case they don’t get a subject of their choice…,” said Sunil Magar, director of state D.El.Ed admission committee and Vidya Pradhikaran. The online application forms for the ‘special’ round will be available from August 12 to 16, he added.
While Magar denied that the special round of admissions was being held to help D.El.Ed colleges that are facing difficult times, he acknowledged that several such colleges were shutting down. “I don’t have the exact figures but quite a few colleges are shutting down… mostly due to lack of takers for the courses,” he said.
There are close to 90 aided colleges in Maharashtra and last year, the state was considering shutting down 25 of these colleges, three of them from Pune district, as there were few takers for the seats. Even if the government doesn’t shut down these colleges, many have either applied for permission to shut down or temporary suspend admissions for the year.
One such college is Abhinav College of Education, which has not accepted D.El.Ed admissions for the last two years. College Principal Ujjwala Sadavarte said, “Last year, we got just one application for the D.El.Ed course and this year, we got four applications. We can accommodate 50 students. How is it possible to run an entire course for one student? We had to let go of seven staffers because of the situation. The threat of shutdown for D.El.Ed colleges is very real”.
At the Azam College of Education, principal Bhushan Patil said they have been able to fill over 120 of the 150 seats for the last few years, but admitted that the institute was among a handful of lucky ones. “After the RTE Act was implemented in 2010, the number of teachers’ jobs should have increased, but the government said there were too many teachers. They stopped recruitments of teachers… in the private sector, some teachers get paid as little as Rs 3,000 per month,” he said.