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VC goes back on BEd pledge

Siliguri, June 28: The vice-chancellor of North Bengal University (NBU) seems to have forgotten what he had committed to 800-and-odd BEd students on April 24.

In a verdict on April 19, Calcutta High Court had issued an instruction to stop academic activities in eight BEd colleges in north Bengal, none of which were affiliated to National Council of Teachers' Education (NCTE). The directive followed a PIL filed by a Malda-based businessman this year.

According to a source, under the National Council for Teachers' Act, 1993, it is mandatory for institutions to obtain recognition from the NCTE before starting a teachers' training course.

Following the high court order, students of these colleges had resorted to demonstration at NBU, when P.K. Saha, the vice-chancellor, had assured them that the varsity would take necessary steps to ensure that these colleges earn the NCTE affiliation.

'We will challenge the validity of such a PIL in the Supreme Court,' Saha had told the students on April 24. 'Had the PIL been in favour of education, it would have included all colleges in the state. There are about 28 other BEd institutions in the state, which do not have the recognition.'

But after the high court declared yesterday that these 28 colleges were running the course illegally, Saha, today, said there was 'no question of the university going to court over the PIL'. 'We do not have any plan to go to court, challenging the validity of the PIL, on the basis of which the high court had passed the verdict,' he said. 'The court had held the colleges primarily responsible and had only commented as to why we had issued affiliation to them.'

The NCTE has agreed to grant recognition to four colleges located in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Malda and Falakata for the 2006-07 session, Saha said today.

The students plan to re-launch their movement. 'Promises made by the NBU seems to have fallen blank. We plan to restart our agitation and stage a demonstration on the campus on July 3,' said Anindita Ghosh of Falakata BEd College, unaware that her institution will be granted affiliation soon.

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