The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shiksha kendra sop before polls

Behrampore, March 7: The government has circulated guidelines for setting up Madhyamik Shiksha Kendras (MSK) in each gram panchayat area in the state by the beginning of the next academic session this June.

Since more than three million children in the 9-13 age group do not have an opportunity to go to school, the government plans to being education closer to them through the MSKs.

The institutes will be opened in areas without a school affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education within a radius of three kilometres. The financial responsibility of running these six-teacher schools will lie with the local panchayat and the panchayat samity.

Each MSK will have a head teacher and five others, none below 40 years. The institutes will have to run for at least 200 days in each academic year. The teachers, to be appointed on contract, will be paid on a merit-based graded scale — Rs 2,000 for pass graduates and Rs 2,500 for graduates and post-graduates. The head teacher will be given Rs 3,000.

Coming just a couple of months before the panchayat polls, the move has raised eyebrows as it will create a new channel of employment in the districts, that of Siksha Samprasaraks.

Sources in the Murshidabad administration said the department of panchayats and rural development circulated the guidelines recently after finalising them in consultation with the school education department.

“We have been asked to take steps to open these MSKs by Writers’ Buildings. We have been sent the circular as well as the proforma required to employ teachers in these schools,” said Murshidabad zilla parishad chairman S. Kandari. Initially, about 100 such institutes will come up in the district.

“We will start with Class V and add a class each year as we go on. Finally, the MSKs will be able to hold Madhyamik examinations with the board’s affiliation. This also means that no new junior high and high schools will be given permission to be opened by the zilla parishad,” Kandari said.

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