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West Bengal: Teacher groups protest HRMS in state-backed varsities

September 22, 2023

Eight teacher organizations in West Bengal have issued a warning of potential protests within educational campuses. This move is in response to the state’s higher education department’s intentions to discuss the implementation of a human resource management system (HRMS) in state universities. The teacher organizations perceive this as an encroachment on the autonomy of colleges and universities.

In a letter addressed to Education Minister Bratya Basu, the teacher organizations emphasized the need for their concerns to be taken seriously. They urged the department to refrain from undermining the autonomous status of publicly funded universities.

The organizations involved in this initiative include the Calcutta University Teachers Association (CUTA), Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA), and Rabindra Bharati University Teachers Association (RBUTA).

The letter went on to express that if the authorities fail to address their concerns, the associations would be left with no choice but to launch a protest movement against the decision. They are also prepared to pursue legal action if necessary.

The teacher organizations perceive the state’s initiative to discuss HRMS as an attempt to transform university campuses into extensions of the higher education department, thereby eroding the autonomy of these institutions. Similar efforts were made in 2018 but were met with resistance from teacher bodies. The organizations argue that the government’s actions are in violation of the principles of federalism.

In light of these concerns, the teacher bodies respectfully requested a reconsideration of the matter in the best interest of everyone associated with state-aided universities. A higher education department official clarified that the meeting scheduled for September 20 was primarily focused on discussing the financial situation of each university, particularly addressing crises arising from the non-release of UGC grants for ongoing projects. The official emphasized that it was not related to staff salaries.

Also read: West Bengal: Campus chaos

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