Protests over irregularities in recruitment of teachers

Congress members burn an effigy of State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee during their protest over Teacher Eligibility Test controversies, in Kolkata on Monday.

Widespread protests have erupted in different parts of West Bengal over the recruitment of 42,000 primary teachers in the State. Protests were held in Kolkata and Siliguri on Monday alongside the West Bengal Legislative Assembly where the MLAs of the Opposition blamed the State government over the irregularities in one of the biggest recruitment scam in the State.

Discontent among the examinees started when the results of the recruitment were announced on January 31. Instead of making the merit list of successful candidates public, the State government announced that successful examinees will be informed about this through SMS or email. The earlier practice used to be making the entire list of impanelled candidates public.

From the first week of February, examinees started protesting in different districts of the State, citing lack of transparency in the recruitment. Only those candidates who had qualified the test were allowed to access their results online by keying in their roll numbers creating confusion among unsuccessful candidates who questioned why they were being denied access to their results.

Confusion was not only limited to unsuccessful candidates but also those who were sent messages by the State government asking to appear for counselling. Many students who either have not completed their diploma in primary education or were working as para teachers got enlistment under 10 per cent reservation fixed for para teachers. So when they were asked for relevant documents they could not produce any leading to hiccups in their recruitment.

Recruitment a scam

Leader of the Left Legislature Party and CPI( Marxist) MLA Sujan Chakraborty described the entire process as “flawed”. “Who are the 42,000 candidates who have been appointed? Has anybody seen the list of their names. No one in India has ever seen such a situation,” Mr Chakraborty said, adding “the recruitment is a scam”.

Even experts like former chairperson of West Bengal School Service Commission Ranajit Basu find that there is “lack of transparency” in the recruitment of primary teachers. He said that the primary teacher recruitment should be decentralised at the district level for recruitment.

Govt version

State Education Minister Partha Chateerjee, however, has vocally defended the governments decision not to publish the list of impanelled candidates.

“It is not important to publish a merit list. What is most important is to ensure that the appointment is held only on the basis of merit and the selected candidates are able to produce all the relevant documents at the time of appointment,” Mr Chatterjee said.

On Monday when there were protests in the State Assembly and outside, the Minister blamed the Left for indulging in corruption in teachers recruitment during its regime. Mr Chatterjee also urged the examinees not to “yield to the provocation by the Opposition.”

High Court moved

Meanwhile about 150 candidates from Purba Medinipur have approached the Calcutta High Court challenging the selection process. The matter has been admitted by the High Court.

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Printable version | May 10, 2022 5:17:29 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/protests-over-irregularities-in-recruitment-of-teachers/article17337077.ece