The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pay whip for dismal performance

Malda, Aug. 9: The district inspector of schools here has stopped the payment of salaries for the month of July to teachers in 31 government-aided schools across the district.

The decision has been taken after the authorities of these schools failed to answer a showcause notice issued on July 23, asking them to account for the poor performance of their students in the Madhyamik examinations. The institutions, which featured on a list of 500 drawn up by the state school education department, were supposed to answer to the notice within seven days.

Speaking over phone from Calcutta, school education minister, Partha De, told The Telegraph that these schools had been issued showcause notices as its students had not performed satisfactorily in the Madhyamik examinations this year.

“They had been asked to explain their performance and send us suggestions about how things can be improved. They can also inform us about any difficulties they have in going about their job,” De said.

The minister made it clear that the school education department would not tolerate high failure rates in Madhyamik. “We are serious about raising the standard of education in the state and we will leave no stone unturned in trying to achieve that,” the minister said.

De informed the notices had been sent to the district inspectors of schools and a number of replies had already come in.

Malda district inspector of schools Tapan Kumar Basu confirmed that the salaries of teachers and other staff of 31 schools have not been despatched this month. He said the government-aided schools had to adhere to certain norms in order to continue receiving the grant.

“There are 10 conditions that government-aided schools have to comply with. Among them is a 41 per cent success rate for students appearing in Madhyamik. The pass percentage of these 31 schools in the 2006 board exams ranged between 22 per cent and 36 per cent,” he said.

The inspector said the schools had not only failed to answer the notice within the stipulated time frame, they had not done so even after the deadline was extended by a week.

“As my office has not received any reply from these schools, their pay has not been despatched from the treasury,” Basu said.

Secretariat member of the CPM-backed All Bengal Teachers’ Association Bhuban Kumar said: “We have to look into why the success rate fell below 41 per cent and whether the new syllabus has anything to do with it.”

He also stressed on the need to improve the infrastructure of schools and fill up vacant teaching posts. “Most of these schools have a high student-teacher ratio and some are heavily short of staff,” he said.

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