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After marksheets, cheque fiasco

Calcutta, Sept. 27: The Madhaymik board’s sloppy affairs crept from marksheets to a cheque issued to an examiner.

Not yet clean from the marks mess that it landed into, the board today issued a cheque (picture on right) to Manjulika Banerjee showing Rs 573 in the numerical column and an unintelligible “Rupees Five hundr” where the amount had to be put in words.

Banerjee is a teacher of Swami Vivekananda Seva Samity Vidyalaya Girls’ School, Sodepur, and the cheque was her remuneration for examining about 250 answer scripts in this year’s Madhyamik exams.

The detection of the mistake triggered sharp reactions in teachers’ circles. The error highlights the kind of “harassment” most teachers go through after opting for examination duties, they said.

Teachers also expressed concern over what they felt was a “glaring example of the neglect and careless attitude of the board officials” that led to the marks scandal and harassment of innocent students.

“We are shocked to find a document bearing the signature of a responsible official of the board holding the rank of deputy secretary (finance) having such gross mistakes. This is a reflection of the kind of poor work culture in the board,” said Prithwis Basu, general secretary, West Bengal Headmasters’ Association.

The cheque fiasco came in for some sharp words from teachers’ lobbies controlled by the Left parties as well.

Amiya Basu, general secretary of the Bengal Teachers’ and Employees’ Association (BTEA) — an organisation controlled by the CPI — said: “They (the board) said after the marksheet scandal that it was the teachers who were mostly responsible for the large number of mistakes. In fact, Haraprasad Samaddar (the board chief who was forced to quit following the scandal) had charged the teachers with not examining the answer scripts well. But who should be held responsible for the harassment caused to Banerjee for getting this defective cheque just before the pujas'” asked Basu.

The words were echoed across the academic and administrative echelons of the state’s school education. Various schools alleged that such negligence in the board’s day-to-day work had become a daily affair.

The mistake in the cheque was detected soon after a representative of the teacher collected it from the head office of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.

Board secretary Amar Patra described the mistake as “gross irregularity”. “This should not have happened. I will soon start an inquiry into the matter,” he said.

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