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State sleeps over teachers’ list of honour

Calcutta, Aug 25: Do it now, to do it whenever.

That seems to be what chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had wanted his government to be and what it has turned out.

Bengal is the last state to have sent a shortlist of teachers to be feted by the Union government, which means that even if chosen, those from the state may not be left with the time to make it to Delhi on Teachers’ Day.

“The Union human resource development ministry has already made the final selection for the other states and the names of the teachers to be honoured have been have been announced,” said Kartick Saha, general secretary of the Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association.

“So they (the teachers from other states) have enough time to get things ready for the Delhi trip. But teachers from this state will only get to know about their selection at the last moment and might not be able to make it to the event at all.”

Education department sources said that after a shortlist is sent, the Union ministry scrutinises it and usually seeks certain clarifications. It is only after it is satisfied that the final selection is made.

“The HRD ministry has written five letters to the state government since November last year asking it to send the list for the 2008 awards. But the state government managed to send it only last week,” said a teacher.

The national award is given to teachers every year. It carries a certificate of merit, Rs 25,000 and a silver medal.

The Centre provides conveyance charges and accommodation to the awardees. But they have to draw up their own travel plans.

For the final programme at Vigyan Bhavan on September 5, they are supposed to attend rehearsals the day before.

It is not that a teacher will miss out on the award itself because of the state’s delay, but the honour of receiving it from the President of India may be lost.

“It is a great honour for any teacher to receive the award from the President of India, probably the greatest,” said a teacher.

The state’s director of school education, Dibyen Muherjee, admitted the delay and attributed it to “some technical problems”, which he wouldn’t elaborate on. “We sent the names very recently. The process was delayed because of some technical problems,” Mukherjee said.

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