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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Parents lock up primary teachers

- Admission denial triggers gherao at school

Raiganj, Feb. 4: The headmistress and two lady teachers of a primary school here were locked up in a room for five hours today by guardians who were angry with the school’s denial to admit their children.

The Raiganj Government Free Primary School witnessed a rush for fresh admissions to classes II, III and IV this academic session because of a circular issued by the state government last year. The circular made it mandatory for all government high schools to directly take in students from government-sponsored primary schools located on their premises.

The primary school is located on the premises of the Coronation High School, one of the better known schools in Raiganj.

Biswanath Pal, the father of a boy seeking entry into Class IV, said the school authorities, along with the primary education department and the district administration, had been misleading the guardia-ns over the admission procedure.

“We had been assured on January 30 that every student seeking admissions to Classes II, III and IV would be accommodated. But on February 1, the authorities took a decision that allowed Class IV admission to only those children who reside within a radius of 1km of the school. It denied fresh admissions to Classes II and III. My son can’t study in this school according to the new rules,” said Pal.

According to sources in the school, 531 application forms had been received for admissions to the three classes, of which 350 were for Class IV. Of the 350 applicants, 127 live within the radius of 1km of the school.

About 150 parents participated in the gherao. “The flawed government circular is to blame for the rush for admissions. We could have sent our children to good primary schools and then made them sit for admission tests for Class V in reputed schools as was the case earlier. However, with the new circular, all seats in Class V in high schools get filled up and no outsider would get admission. That is why a lot of students applied for admissions to this primary school,” said a parent.

The headmistress, Kamala Chatterjee, and two other teachers were forced to sit inside the common room of the school from 11am to 4pm.

The teachers were allowed to leave after additional district inspector of schools, Ashraf Ali, had come to the institution and assured the protesters that a meeting with the district administration would be held tomorrow to sort out the matter.

Although the headmistress didn’t say why restrictions had been imposed on the admissions, she hinted at the reason.

“I am always in favour of admitting all students. However, I also want the infrastructure of the school to be improved before that. I want all students to get a place to sit and study,” said Chatterjee.