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Act watch over schoolteachers

Calcutta, June 24: The Cabinet today passed an amendment to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education Act 1963 which, if approved by the Assembly, will stipulate dos and don’ts for schoolteachers.

The amendment will be tabled in the monsoon session of the Assembly. If the House approves, 1.63 lakh Madhyamik teachers in 12,000 schools across the state will be bound by a code of conduct.

“They are expected not to give private tuitions, not to refuse checking examination papers, to attend to duties properly and so on,” said school education minister Kanti Biswas. The draft Bill seeks to allow the board to impose discipline in the attendance of teaching and non-teaching staff.

If an employee is found to be flouting the code, he might even face permanent suspension. Penalty might also mean freezing of increments, Biswas said.

“Inspection teams will be formed in every district to monitor and keep a check on how teachers carry out their work,” he said. The system now applies to college and university employees.

The proposal of the school education department was “to empower the board to make regulations relating to the conduct and discipline of the teachers and non-teaching staff of recognised institutions under the board”. The department had suggested that a clause be inserted in the secondary education Act to give more teeth to the board.

Teachers’ organisations, however, were not happy about the proposed amendment. Even those controlled by the Left partners expressed discontent.

Biswas said he will talk to the organisations. But the teachers’ bodies said they should have been consulted earlier.

General secretary of the Secondary Teachers and Employees’ Association Ratan Lashkar said managing committees were already in a position to take action against teachers violating the board’s rules and the amendment was “unnecessary”. It was being brought in to harass teachers, he said.

The Cabinet also cleared an amendment to the Calcutta Land Revenue Act 1850, increasing the revenue in the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority area, including the corporations in Calcutta and Howrah and 41 adjoining municipalities.

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