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Funds care class for principals

Calcutta, Oct. 20: Students of Serampore Girls’ College in Hooghly have not had regular classes for the better part of their academic session.

In Arambagh Girls’ College, another institution in Hooghly, books have taken the back seat for the past six months.

Students were not responsible for the impasse in any of the colleges but a tussle between the principals and the college governing bodies. It resulted in the dismissal of the principal of the Serampore college last month. In Arambagh, the principal is under suspension. The college governing body accused him of laundering funds and neglecting duty.

A spate of cases of collision between college principals and their administrations or teachers’ bodies has prompted the government to mull tightening inspections in undergraduate colleges across the state.

Officials said the stepped-up vigil would help maintain regular checks on the financial activities of the institutions.

The government is also considering organising workshops and camps to train the principals in funds management.

Sources in the higher education department said preliminary investigations have revealed that in most cases the impasse began after financial irregularities were detected or because of a lack of a working relationship between the principals and the governing bodies.

“The principals are not at fault in all the cases. They get entangled in controversy as they lack expertise in handling complicated financial matters,” said Nirmalya Banerjee, the joint secretary of the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education. “We need to ensure proper financial management training for them.”

Members of the West Bengal Principal’s Council, however, described the possible move as mere “harassment” of principals. The council has sought steps by the government to check such “unnecessary harassment”.

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