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Bengal: Protesting school teaching job aspirants hopeful of resolution

December 12, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

A seven-member delegation from hundreds of aspiring school teachers who are protesting in the Maidan area in Kolkata for nearly three years alleging irregularities in teacher recruitment in Bengal said after a meeting between them and state education minister Bratya Basu held on Monday that they hoped the government will soon resolve the complexities regarding their appointments and provide them the jobs which they were denied.

 “We have been protesting on the road for more than 1000 days. We had cleared the recruitment exams but were deprived of jobs because of corruption and irregularity in the recruitment process. After today’s meeting we are hopeful of a positive initiative now being taken by the government to solve the present stalemate so that we get justice,” said a protester after the meeting.

The minister who addressed reporters after the meeting said he too hoped that the complexities that have arisen due to certain legal issues will be solved.

He said chief minister Mamata Banerjee too is keen to provide teaching jobs to the aspirants in government schools by creating new posts but she is unable to do so because of some legal issues.

“ The chief minister is sincerely trying to provide teaching jobs to the aspirants. I can assure you it is she who will do it. We are hoping that the legal complications that have arisen over creating new posts will end soon. We will abide by the directives of the court. We are ready to do whatever is necessary to provide relief to the candidates. But the rest depends on the order of the court,” Basu told reporters.

The Supreme Court will hear a case related to the recruitment of these job aspirants on December 14. The government will sit with the agitating aspirants again on December 22 to take forward the discussions based on the directive of the court.

Nearly 5575 candidates who cleared the State Level Selection Test (SLST) for classes IX to XII in state aided schools held by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission in 2016 had been protesting for three years demanding the teaching jobs.

There were nearly 12,900 posts of assistant teachers for Classes IX to XII when the selection tests were held.  A section of candidates who had cleared the exams but did not get the jobs moved court alleging irregularities and corruption in the recruitment process. Hundreds of such aggrieved candidates started the sit-in demonstration in Maidan demanding justice.

On the 1000th day of the agitation a woman protestor Rashmoni Patra had shaved her head to protest the delay in getting her appointment letter despite clearing the test and having all the requisite qualifications.

Patra said after Monday’s meeting that the discussions were fruitful. “ We are happy with today’s meeting. We hope that the chief minister will ensure that we can go back home and join school.”

Education minister Basu too said he had sympathy for all the candidates who are protesting. “ After all they are all our students from this state. They have the right to protest. We are hopeful of solving their problem at the earliest,” Basu said.

Last week, on the 1000th day of the protest Trinamul Congress spokesman Kunal Ghosh met the agitators and took the initiative to arrange the meeting with the education minister on Monday.

Also read: Bengal: CBI raids homes of TMC MLA and councillors in school job scam

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