The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teachers under scrutiny

Krishnagar, April 3: Primary school teachers in Nadia are now under watch as neither parents of students nor education authorities are convinced about their competence.

In the wake of a flurry of complaints lodged by parents pointing out dismal teaching in some primary institutions, the district's school education authorities have decided to form 15-member teams comprising retired inspectors of schools, headmasters and teachers in each of the 17 blocks. Their task: to assess the performance of teachers.

Bibhash Biswas, the chairman of the district primary school council, said the teams would visit the schools, particularly those in the rural areas, every month to judge the worth of teachers, especially those of English.

The language was reintroduced in Class I last year.

There are about 9,000 teachers in 2,600 primary schools across Nadia. Biswas said the council has informed the board of secondary education about the formation of the 'quality management teams'. The teams, the council believes, will help improve the quality of teaching at the primary level.

'The board has appreciated our initiative. We will also form another team to assess the performance of teachers in secondary schools. We are determined to provide quality education to our students,' said Biswas.

The poor performance of teachers came to light this January after guardians as well as some village education committees lodged complaints.

Sasthi Pal, a Class X dropout, found that teachers at Dohradaha Primary School in Karimpur, 200 km from Calcutta, had marked right some glaring mistakes in his son's homework. The Class III student had divided 70 by 2 and produced 33 as answer. In English, the boy spelt ocean as 'ocian' and Europe as 'europ'. All the answers were marked correct.

Pal, a potter, lodged a complaint against all seven teachers of the school.

Instructed by the district inspector of schools (primary), the Dohradaha school authorities conducted an inquiry and admitted that what happened was 'alarming'.

Biswas said: 'Our inquiry revealed that Sasthi Pal's complaint was not baseless. A lot of money is being pumped into primary education and the teachers are accountable for the standard of teaching.'

Explanations were sought from all seven teachers. 'In reply, they said the mistakes while correcting the Class-III student's homework were inadvertent. We told them they would be punished if such mistakes were repeated,' Biswas added.

An official said the assessors would not be paid for the job but their travelling expenses would be reimbursed. 'Many former teachers are eager to be part of the teams, although we have told them that we will not be able to pay them salary. They told us they want to shoulder some social responsibility,' said another official.

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