A 21-hour sit-in at a city-school, by some parents and students who failed their Higher Secondary selection tests, has led to an unprecedented action by the State Education department, which seized the answer sheets of all students to scrutinise whether they had been fairly marked.
Twenty-nine students of Santoshpur Rishi Aurobindo Balika Bidyalaya, backed by their parents, held an overnight sit-in at their school on the southern fringes of the city, closeting in their principal and some of the teachers, after they were disallowed in the selection tests for the higher secondary examinations to be held next year. They alleged that they were victimised.
Following a phone-call on Tuesday morning by the principal to the Education Department, Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu sent the Secretary of the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education and other officials to the school and they took away all answer scripts and tabulation sheets for investigation. A total of 105 students had taken the selection tests.
School authorities resented the seizure, saying it would send a wrong message and bad precedent. By afternoon, there were reports of unrest in other schools with students there saying they had also been ‘victimised’ and would not be allowed to take the secondary and higher secondary board examinations next year. They too demanded that their answer sheets be scrutinised by the Council.
The Council condemned the sit-in held by the students and parents, but said it was within its duty to safeguard the interest of students, while preserving within an educational institution the dignity and respect of the teachers.