The state government has decided to replace the existing West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, comprising nominated members, with an elected body. Sources in the education department said the government would place the proposal in the Assembly after consulting legal experts.
“Considering demands from several quarters, we have prepared a blueprint of the election procedure and submitted it to the government. The switch is necessary as all other examination bodies in the state, including the Madhyamik Board and most universities, have elective members,” said Higher Secondary Council president Jyotiprakash Mukhopadhyay on Saturday.
The new system would help run the Council more effectively, he added.
The move, according to government officials, is aimed at giving a democratic look to the Council, set up by the Congress government in 1975. The existing HS Council comprises 15 members, all nominated by the state government. The Madhyamik Board has been practising the elective process since the early Eighties.
According to a government official, the democratic process will give the ruling CPM “a larger say in the affairs of the HS Council”. “In fact, the Council will then have representatives from all the districts, as the party has a considerable base in the teaching community across the state,” he added.
The CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA), too, has persistently been demanding a switch in the system of forming the Council.
“When the government has introduced the system in all other examination bodies, there is no reason why the HS Council should be made an exception,” ABTA general secretary Amal Banerjee pointed out.
According to government rules, representatives of examination bodies are elected from among teachers and heads of Higher Secondary institutions from all the districts.
The delay in introducing the new system in the HS Council is being attributed to the fact that Higher Secondary courses are taught in both schools and colleges. This poses a hindrance to the government in including college teachers as voters, since only school teachers are eligible to participate in the election for constituting the HS Council.