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HC stays bar on teacher schools

Calcutta, Dec. 22: A division bench of the high court today passed an interim order staying a trial bench order cancelling registrations of 40 private primary teachers' training institutes across the state.

After today's order, 4,000 students who had successfully completed the course in 2004-2005 but did not obtain certificates because of the earlier order, would now get them.

Another 4,000 ' of the 2005-2006 batch ' will be able to continue their course. The previous order had barred them from continuing studies.

The school education department heaved a sigh of relief today as the court order had made it difficult for it to fill vacancies in state-aided primary schools.

According to the norm, primary teacher post aspirants must have completed the course to be eligible for the job.

In May, Devendra Mahato Smriti Raksha Committee of Purulia, which wanted a green signal to train primary teachers, moved a petition before Justice Pratap Roy of the high court alleging that the government had adopted a dual policy while recognising institutions that offered such a course.

The committee argued that it was denied recognition despite fulfilling all requisite conditions and that several other institutions, which did not have the infrastructure required, had been given the nod.

In his order, Justice Roy had said the method adopted by the school education department while recognising an institution for starting the training course was bad in law.

The judge said 'bad in law' because he felt the existing norms did not authorise the government to allow a private institution to run a teacher training course.

He struck down the state's decision to grant recognition to the private institutions and asked the government not to issue certificates to students who had completed the course from there.

The government was also told to cancel the registration of all 40 private institutions offering the course.

The West Bengal Board of Primary Education and 35 out of the 40 institutions that bore the brunt of the order then moved the division bench of Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice A.K. Mitra.

The board's lawyers, S. Pal and D.P. Mukherjee, told the bench that the future of at least 8,000 students, who had either completed the course or taken admission this year, depended on its judgment.

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