New Delhi: India’s teacher education regulator, the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), is facing 46 court cases for acting against poor quality teacher education colleges and making an effort to bar hundreds of non-performers from admitting fresh students from the coming year.

And the regulator, backed by the human resource development ministry, is moving the Supreme Court Tuesday to bring all 46 cases to the apex court and any future case that it may face on the subject.

As part of a new initiative, the regulator had asked institutions to come clean on their quality of teaching and learning environment, education outcome and infrastructure, but in last 15 days institutions moved courts across India to stop the regulator from going ahead with the move. The deadline for self disclosure ended on 31 July but now it has extended the deadline by a month to accommodate more institutions.

“As of 7 August, we are facing 46 cases in nine high courts and all in last 15 days," a government official said without divulging further details. The official requested anonymity as the matter is subjudice.

“The additional solicitor general of India is taking up our case," said the official adding that in last 15 days NCTE instead of focusing on the reform process it started is running around states to state its position.

In June, NCTE chairman A. Santhosh Mathew had told Mint in an interview that the organization has already collected preliminary data from nearly 12,000 colleges and they will closely monitor the quality of all such institutions. Those who will not come for self-disclosure may be barred from admitting fresh students from the coming year.

NCTE is looking to have an accreditation and grading system for such colleges with physical assets getting the least weightage. From now on, physical infrastructure will get 10% weight, 20% will go to academic assets, 30% to teacher transactions and 40% to student learning outcome, Mint reported on 29 June.

A segment of India’s teacher education colleges are infamous for providing poor education. And poor quality teachers are often considered as one of the key reasons why school education in India is in a poor state. And in the central teacher eligibility test, a qualifying exam to land a job, less than 15% of the aspirants pass the exam.

“First, you don’t provide quality education and run degree factories and when the government acts against you, you move the court. That’s a plan to delay or derail the clean-up process. People must come clean on one basic point—are they not cheating students, aspiring teachers and the education sector which is being criticized for poor outcome," said another government official, who also declined to be named.

The NCTE has got 19 cases in Rajasthan high court, seven each in high court of Allahabad, high court of Madhya Pradesh in Jabalpur among others.

The second person said the HRD ministry has fully backed the NCTE in its initiative and minister Prakash Javadekar has already reviewed the situation more than twice in last few days.

NCTE believes educational institutes can not challenge its reform move as a Supreme Court constituted panel had asked the body to do so in 2013 and not doing so will amount to contempt of court.

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