Siliguri, Dec. 22: The appointment of a new headmaster at BSF Primary School, Kadamtala, has created a controversy.
A section of the school's teachers has levelled allegations of favouritism and corruption against the school authorities after Shivshankar Mazumder, a part-time teacher for many years, was appointed as the headmaster.
The teachers alleged that the four-member selection panel, headed by the inspector-general of BSF North Bengal Frontier, S.R. Tiwari, acted in 'gross violation' of the rules of appointment by selecting Mazumder, who did not fulfil the criteria as advertised in the media.
The advertisement, published on September 13, had specified the criteria under two categories: essential and desirable. An aggregate of 55 per cent in graduation along with a B.Ed degree were said to be essential. Mazumder, who passed out from Siliguri College under North Bengal University in 1992, had only about 42 per cent marks.
A letter, signed by seven regular teachers, to Tiwari, who is also the chairman of BSF Primary School Board, has pointed out that Mazumder did not fulfil the 'desirable' qualifications either.
As advertised, these include 10 years' experience, knowledge of computer application and competence to teach in both Hindi and English. 'Tiwari cannot teach in Hindi and has a very bad command over English,' a teacher said. 'Being a part-timer, his experience cannot be said to be adequate. Moreover, he got his B.Ed degree only two months ago.'
'On what basis was Tiwari called for the interview' the teacher asked. 'How was he selected when other candidates were better qualified' We feel that the whole interview was a sham.'
Mazumder was appointed headmaster with effect from December 12 following an interview on December 9, in which four candidates, including Mazumder and two other teachers of the same school, had appeared. One candidate had more than 60 per cent marks, about 10 years' of full-time teaching experience and fluency in both Hindi and English.
When contacted, Tiwari said the rules were not broken, but amended. 'More than rules, what matters is the objective,' he said. 'Since we wanted an able teacher, we had to change the rules.'
An irate teacher countered: 'Then why have any rules in the first place' He could have put the man on the job even without an interview.'
Tiwari said Mazumder was the best among the four. 'The decision of our interview panel was unanimous and the process has been transparent. The unrest among other teachers is understandable, as they are quite obviously suffering from jealously,' Tiwari said.
When contacted, Mazumder told The Telegraph in halting English and Hindi: 'I applied for the job and got selected. I don't even know the selectors, who have taken the decision after making their own evaluation.'