On constraints in recruiting teachers and larger issue of low capability trap

IndiaSpend has a good article on teacher shortage in Delhi public schools. It lists two primary constraints.

On recruitment procedure
The Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), which recruits teachers in Delhi, also hires patwaris (village registrars), nurses and malaria food inspectors for the government. This means delays, with further time lost during the exchange of candidate dossiers between the board and the education department.
On shortage of qualified teachers
There are candidates who hold a Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) certificate and have cleared the teacher eligibility exam at the state and central level but do not pass the DSSB exam. 
Three years ago, the board conducted an exam to fill 5,013 graduate teacher vacancies. Of these, 2,133 were hired, according to the board official. In the case of 239 candidates, caste-reservation documents needed further scrutiny. The rest could not make the 40% pass score. 
The board also  had 1,596 unfilled vacancies for special educators to teach disabled students because candidates failed the exam.
This is a symptomatic of a larger systemic problem of low capacity trap where the short term measures are in conflict with the long term measures.

There are two issues here - the relevance of degrees and the shortage of teachers.

1. One needs trained teachers for classrooms. Degree and exams are usually used as a metric. But, in a context, where degrees don't mean anything, how much should one rely on these?

Many private schools complain that it's difficult to get teachers who are both good and have a B.Ed degree. For instance, a teacher might be good but without a degree and those with degrees might not be good. But, government regulations mandate to recruit only those with B. Ed degrees.

2. In case of severe shortages, excessive reliance on (meaningless) degrees hurts in short term because it artificially creates teacher shortage.

If government schools aren't able to recruit teachers with these requirements, imagine the condition of private schools who have to recruit teachers with similar stipulated government regulations.

One can argue that B.Ed as a requirement should be done away with, considering its irrelevance and that one should focus more on 'on-job training'. This might be useful in short-term but is it good in log term?

The other argument is that if degrees are the problem, teacher education should be revamped instead of removing it as a criteria. It's easier said than done since revamp takes a lot of time. Considering the fact that many governments aren't attempting to do anything on this front, the short-term damage is probably going to continue longer. In that context, isn't it wise to relax regulations till the teacher education is revamped? 

But then again, if such regulations are removed, will the governments have the incentive to improve teacher education? It's also important to note that even on-job training is poor in government schools. So, there's no hope of training them later too.

It's a tough balancing act between short-term and the long-term. If governments don't act immediately, the choice gets more difficult in future.

On a similar note, this issue also highlights the quality of recruitment exams. The above story talks of discrepancy in performance measured by Teacher Eligibility Test of State government, Central government and DSSB exam. We don't know the good exam amongst the three, that can be used for comparison. It might also turn out that all the three exams are poorly designed.

A more fundamental question is - is it actually possible to measure the skills required for teachers through exams with multiple-choice questions?

Shortage of human resources and mismatch between job demands and degree requirements isn't an issue in education alone. For instance, former Union Health Secretary K. Sujatha Rao argues that we need to relax qualification requirements for nurses in operation theatres. In a context with large nurse shortage, is it wise to require a 4-5 year degree to perform the job of just passing on surgical equipment? Won't it be better achieved by a shorter training through diplomas?

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