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WB: Calcutta High Court cancels appointments of 36,000 primary teachers

May 13, 2023

Mita Mukherjee

The Calcutta High Court on Friday cancelled the appointments of 36,000 primary teachers  recruited in 2016, on the grounds that these teachers neither cleared the required teacher training programme nor did they appear for the aptitude test before they were selected.

Passing the order, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay  said fresh recruitments for the 36,000 posts will have to be completed within three months.

The order said  the teachers whose appointments have been cancelled will be able to continue for four months and they would be paid reduced salaries on par with the amount paid to para-teachers, a category of teachers who work in the primary schools for assisting whole time teachers.

The West Bengal Board of Primary Education which had conducted the State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014 on the basis of which these 36,000 teachers were appointed, said the board will challenge this order because the “untrained” teachers had been recruited following permission from the Union human resources development ministry and all of them have been trained after recruitment.

WBPE president Goutam Pal said all the 36,000 teachers had been trained in the open distance learning (ODL) mode after 2017.

These candidates had written the Teacher Eligibility Test ( TET), one of the criteria for seeking teaching jobs in primary schools in 2015.

In the same year, the WBPE had issued notification that a test would be conducted to recruit state-aided primary school teachers in compliance with the guidelines of National Council for Teacher Education ( NCTE).

The NCTE guidelines say that it is mandatory for all candidates to complete and qualify the teacher training programme before recruitment.

But later the board found that there were not enough trained candidates and the 36,000 posts would have to be left vacant.

Most of the primary schools were facing teacher scarcity problem at that time and there was an immediate need to fill up the vacant posts to ensure proper imparting of education to the students, said a senior official of the school education department.

Considering the situation, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had spoken to HRD minister Smriti Irani about the problem and later the board recruited the untrained candidates with permission from the Union ministry, the education department official said.

The relaxation  was valid till 2016. The training of the selected candidates, however, were completed in 2019.

After the enactment of the Right to Education act by the Centre in 2009, the NCTE had made it compulsory for all primary teachers to obtain a diploma in elementary education before appointment. 

In Bengal, since the Left regime, the state had been practicing the system of recruiting untrained candidates as primary teachers. The teachers would complete the training after recruitment.

Also Read: WB: State project to improve government schools through cluster approach

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