The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New-year date for teachers’ conduct code

The government is determined to teach the teachers a lesson or two about code of conduct.

Disclosing this on Monday, school education minister Kanti Biswas said: “A code of professional ethics will be published within the next month-and-a-half. We already have a separate code of ethics for teachers in primary schools, colleges and universities, which they have to promise to abide by at the time of joining service. Now, there will be separate codes for Secondary and Higher Secondary teachers.”

The code would involve teachers taking a one-time pledge not to engage in private tuition or any other profit-making business, instead of signing a declaration on this score every month. Biswas said the code of ethics would also include a ban on teachers’ doubling as insurance agents.

As part of its reforms in the education sector, the government had announced last year in the state Assembly that it would introduce the system of taking written undertakings from Madhyamik teachers every month, stating they would not indulge in private tuition.

This had evoked protests from various teachers’ bodies, including the CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA).

Under pressure from the teachers’ lobbies, the government backtracked and said the teachers, instead of giving “undertakings”, would have to sign a “declaration” every three months.

This pacified the ABTA, but the teachers’ bodies owing allegiance to other Left Front constituents, as well as the Opposition, continued to protest such a proposal.

“Also, the government realised it did not have the adequate machinery to collect the declarations from over a lakh teachers in an organised manner throughout the state four times a year. Instead, evolving a code of ethics for the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary teachers seemed more suitable,” said an official of the school education department.

“We welcome the government’s move because our organisation had given a suggestion to it on this score. Even though we were not against the declarations, we had pointed out to the government that it would require a huge machinery to collect the declarations from so many teachers,” said ABTA general secretary Amal Banerjee.

Education department sources said the government had been able to curb private tuition by school-teachers to a considerable extent after imposing the ban on it last year and introducing the declaration system.

“An awareness against private tuition has already been generated among the teachers. So, we don’t need teachers’ to give periodic declarations. A one-time pledge is enough,” an official said.

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