Teachers of Shibpur Bengal Engineering College, Deemed University, are on the warpath protesting a decision of the authorities to increase the number of seats in various undergraduate courses without seeking their opinion.
The Bengal Engineering College Deemed University Teachers’ Association (BECDUTA), which has been steering the agitation since last Thursday, said it would intensify the movement from Monday if the decision was not rolled back. They also threatened to launch a hungerstrike for an indefinite period in support of the demand.
Lambasting the authorities, Santanu Karmakar, association general secretary, said on Saturday that a further increase in the number of seats would not be conducive to imparting quality education in the present set-up. “If we don’t have the requisite infrastructure, then the sudden increase in the number of students will be a problem for us. The college has earned a name for maintaining quality teaching standards for the past 150 years. We are left with no option but to raise our voice against this whimsical decision,” he said.
Aggrieved teachers alleged that the varsity authorities have recently taken a number of decisions in recent times keeping them in the dark. According to university rules, the authorities are “supposed to discuss all matters with the academic council”.
According to them, the decision to increase the number of seats was put up at the meeting of the board of management (BOM), the highest policy-making body, bypassing the academic council. They also threatened to lodge an official complaint with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) demanding their intervention.
P.K. Ray, varsity registrar, however, said the proposal for increasing the seats was being considered in view of the growing demand. “But we must get a clearance from the AICTE for increasing the seats,” he added.
Teachers also resented the authorities’ failure to meet their long-standing demands like non-implementation of career advancement scheme for them and non-payment of pension for the retired staff.
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