A decision to suspend classes and examinations on working days stipulated by the government calendar has pit a section of teachers against the authorities of Goenka College of Commerce and Business Administration.
The college, now in the midst of internal examinations for students ending their first year, did not see any class or exam on Tuesday. Teachers came to the college to face empty classrooms and went back after staying for five hours, as they are expected to do if they follow the new rules aimed at improving “discipline” in educational institutions.
The exam schedule shows that the same routine — of teachers coming to college and staying on for five hours without taking a class — is most likely to be repeated on Thursday, say teachers of the college.
“We did not close the institution on Tuesday and neither do we have such plans for Thursday,” Goenka College principal A. Dasgupta said on Wednesday. “Teachers had to attend college as it was not a government-stipulated holiday but it is true that there was no class or exam held on Tuesday,” he admitted.
The teachers are crying foul. “We had to attend as it was a normal working day for us,” a senior accountancy teacher said. “But how can the college authorities waste a day in the annual academic calendar'” he asked.
Goenka College, being under the direct control of the government, should have informed the former of its decision not to hold any class or exam on two working days, the teacher felt.
“Besides, the government also stipulates a definite number of days for student attendance,” another teacher of the college said. “Why is this rule not being followed'” she asked.
The stalemate comes at a time when the university is facing uncomfortable questions from teachers about the higher education department’s efforts to improve discipline without cracking down on students.
“Most of the colleges regularise inadequate attendance by students and there can be no improvement in discipline without a concerted effort to rein in both errant students and teachers,” said Nationalist Democratic Teachers’ Association college and university cell general secretary Benoy Bhushan Chakraborty.
The controversy also coincides with the differences of opinion over the number of days teachers have to attend college.
The decision to push in the six-day work-week through the “back-door” — by keeping one day every week for college, laboratory or research work — has already led to discontent among teachers and this latest impasse at Goenka College (one of the government colleges in the city to have got the circular) “could not have come at a more inopportune moment”, say All-Bengal State Government College Teachers’ Association members.
Shot at by trio
Suresh Chatalia, 24, a resident of Tollygunge Road, was intercepted and shot at on Wednesday evening near his house by four youths. He was admitted to SSKM Hospital, where he underwent surgery on his leg.
Police sources said he is now out of danger. Chatalia named three local goons, Pintu, Lalu and Bijoy, in his statement to the police, but no one has been arrested yet.