DEd colleges face threat of closure as student strength plummets

Several Diploma in Education (DEd) colleges in the State are on the verge of closure as the student strength has been plummeting drastically.

The number of students seeking admissions to DEd courses has come down as the government has not recruited primary school teachers for more than four years, since 2007. Besides, the new guidelines that DEd teachers who want to handle higher primary classes (sixth to eight standard) should be graduates and those teaching high school classes should have postgraduate degrees have also resulted in poor admissions to DEd courses.

From 2000 to 2007, students made a beeline for DEd courses as the State government was regularly recruiting hundreds of primary schoolteachers. As no recruitments have been made during the past four years, hundreds of candidates who have completed DEd course have been left in the lurch. As those who have completed the course themselves are finding it difficult to get jobs, not many are opting for DEd, fearing a bleak future.

While the government and government-aided DEd colleges have been able to sustain with low student strength, unaided private colleges are finding the going tough as they are totally dependent on fees paid by students. Some of the colleges have less than 10 students and the fees collected from them is not sufficient even to pay the salaries, say private college managements.

Belgaum District Institute of Education and Training Principal B R Kenchradder told Deccan Herald that the district alone has 84 DEd colleges, of which five were government-aided and one was run by the government. As many as 56 are Kannada medium, 22 Marathi, four Urdu and two English medium institutes.

All the colleges, irrespective of the student strength have to maintain required teaching staff strength. Some unaided colleges run by large institutes/societies have been able to sustain despite low student strength, while others were finding it difficult to manage with the meagre fees paid by students, he said.

With degree and postgraduate degree being made mandatory for higher primary and high schoolteachers, those interested in the  teaching profession are opting for Bachelor of Education (BEd) course. This has also led to a fall in admissions to DEd courses, Kenchradder said.

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