"HRD (human resource development) Ministry's Additional Secretary Vrinda Sarup in a letter to Tripura's Principal Secretary (education) informed that the government has given a one-time exemption from conducting TET prior to recruiting around 5,000 school teachers," the minister told the on-going session of the assembly.

"The HRD Ministry is yet to give any clear-cut decision on qualification for the recruitment of the 5,000 under-graduate teachers. However, the HRD Ministry has asked the state government to conduct the TET within two years after the recruitment of these 5,000 teachers," he said.

The minister was replying to the legislators' queries about the under-graduate teachers' recruitment, which was stopped since 1997.

"Over 80 lakh teachers have been teaching in 13 lakh schools across the country and they have not faced the TET. Over 22 crore students are studying in the 13 lakh schools in India," Chakraborty said.

According to the guidelines of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, TET is mandatory for recruitment of government school teachers.

The minister said when Tripura started the process to recruit 5,000 teachers and sought applications in 2002, the pre-condition of holding a TET was not in force.

"The HRD Ministry recently sought some clarification from the state government and we accordingly replied. We want TET, but only for this time we want a one-time relaxation," he said.

Chakraborty added that he has also discussed the matter with HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju.

The controversy over the TET began last year after state Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman wrote a letter to the HRD ministry not to give any waiver to the Tripura government on the matter.

"I have informed the Union Human Resource Development Minister that the Tripura government was trying to ignore the provision of the RTE. Recruitment of teachers without TET would decline the quality of education," Barman had said.


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