The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Throw out the corrupt, CPM tells school minister

Calcutta, Dec. 6: Long after it became common knowledge that education was not going the right way in Left Front’s Bengal, the CPM appears to have realised that it is time the rot is stemmed.

Alarmed at reports of corruption and mismanagement in primary and secondary institutions, the CPM state secretariat today summoned school education minister Kanti Biswas to its Alimuddin Street headquarters and was learnt to have sought a sketch of his plans to bring the system back to health.

Jyoti Basu, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and state CPM secretary Anil Biswas were among those present at the meeting this morning, which lasted for an hour.

“Kanti Biswas has been asked to overhaul the school education system and we have given him a free hand for the purpose,” said one of those present at the meeting.

It, however, remains to be seen how far Anil Biswas, the party’s education czar, is active in helping the government take a new approach to recruitments and running of the institutions.

According to party insiders, the corruption in recruitment of teachers for primary schools and the high-handedness of some members of the school managing committees were on top of today’s agenda.

Allegations about lack of supervision on the part of the district inspectors of schools, mismanagement in the district primary school councils and interference by some school managing committees, a majority of which are controlled by the CPM, in the day-to-day running of the institutions also figured in the discussion.

Complaints have been pouring into the party headquarters about a section of the inspectors of schools and additional district inspectors at the sub-division level. They have been accused of “not even regularly signing the attendance registrar” and collecting money against false travelling allowance bills.

Both Basu and Bhattacharjee were learnt to have said that complaints about irregularities in schools had become a major embarrassment for the party, particularly at a time when the panchayat elections were round the corner.

“We want to keep health and education out of politics. Throw out those found corrupt and inefficient in a key sector like education,” Bhattacharjee reportedly told Biswas.

“Efficiency, not political affiliation, must be the criteria for recruitment of teachers, non-teaching staff and other office bearers in a school,” the chief minister added.

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