The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teachers resent vacation slash

Calcutta, June 11: Representatives of teachers’ bodies, including those controlled by Left parties, today opposed the school education committee’s recommendations of a change in the academic session and curtailing of vacations to increase teaching days in state-aided schools.

The teachers demanded that their opinion be taken into account on the issues at the concluding day of a government-organised workshop to thrash out the modalities of implementing the 13-member committee’s revamp recommendations.

Teachers belonging to associations affiliated to the CPI, the RSP, the Forward Bloc and even the CPM came down heavily on the committee’s suggestions to cut down the number of holidays and begin the academic session from June 1 from 2004.

“Several factors have to be taken into consideration before changing the time of the academic session and reducing vacations in schools. We will not accept the committee’s views as it had not consulted us before preparing the final recommendations,” said Amiya Basu, general secretary of the CPI-controlled teachers’ body.

The academic session in the 12,000 state-aided and -controlled secondary schools and 53,000 primary schools in Bengal now begin from May 1.

Ranjugopal Mukherjee, the committee chairman and former vice-chancellor of North Bengal University, said it was not possible to withdraw the recommendations now as the committee has submitted its report to the government.

“The workshop was organised to determine the methods for implementing the recommendations. The disapproval of the teachers will not be a hindrance to the government’s implementation of the recommendations,” he said.

The committee has pointed out that schools in the state enjoy the maximum number of holidays. As against an ideal of 210 teaching days in a year, academic activities are not held for more than 180.

Schoolteachers are not required to attend duties during the vacations. In turn, they cannot take earned leave. “The government must ensure that we are entitled to earned leave, then only will we accept the plan to reduce the number of holidays,” said Ratan Laskar, general secretary of an anti-Left teachers’ body.

The teachers also pressured the committee not to do away with selection tests before the Madhyamik examination.

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