The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Youth moves court with snaps of private tuition

Burdwan, Sept. 3: Miffed at schoolteachers involved in private tuition even after giving undertakings to the government, an unemployed youth has filed a case in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here seeking its intervention.

Girish Jadab has written to the chief judicial magistrate giving details about the schools where teachers are still involved in taking private classes for a fee. He has named 16 teachers in seven high schools in his petition.

Jadab has gathered evidence to prove his point.

He claims to have photographs of these teachers engaged in taking private classes. He has also collected documents that will be produced in court during hearings.

“Since May this year, ever since the teachers had to give a written undertaking that they will not be involved in private tuitions, these teachers have earned about Rs 15,000 each, grossing Rs 2.4 lakh during the period,” Jadab has alleged.

“I appeal to the court to ask police to inquire into the matter and take necessary action against these teachers,” Jadab said.

“This is a significant public interest litigation as these people engaged in a noble profession are bending the law by producing false documents, stating that they are not earning money privately, to draw their salaries,” said Swapan Banerjee, Jadab’s lawyer.

The government put into operation a blanket ban on private tuition by its teachers last May. School education minister Kanti Biswas and finance minister Asim Dasgupta had separately announced the government’s decision and its intent in sticking to the policy.

A major thrust of the move was to provide employment to jobless graduates who could step into the shoes of the government teachers.

Additional district inspector of schools (secondary education) Sibaprasad Mukherjee said his office has been forwarding complaints similar to Jadab’s to the schools concerned.

“After receiving the directive from the education department, we had forwarded the instructions to all the schools. If complaints on genuine instances of flouting the directive is received, we will take appropriate action,” Mukherjee said.

A trip to the residence of one of the teachers named in the complaints showed he had a proper classroom in the house, complete with a blackboard on the wall. About 50 boys and girls were present and the board had “our 12th president” chalked on it.

When the accompanying photographer tried to take a picture, the teacher’s wife came rushing out, shouting: “Leave us in peace, why are you after us.”

The headmasters of two of the schools mentioned in Jadab’s complaint had the same opinion. “The government has asked us to have our teachers submit the undertaking but it is not our responsibility to find out if they are following the directive. It is the government which should probe the issue,” a headmaster said.

The district secretary of the All-Bengal Teachers’ Association, Mohammed Younis, said the body has accepted the government’s step against private tuition “in principle”. “We are carrying on our movement in support of the government…it is the education department that should see that the teachers are following the norms,” he added.

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