| Ananda Chandra Training College in Jalpaiguri, one of the eight institutions that have come under court scanner. Picture by Biplab Basak
Calcutta, April 19: A division bench of Calcutta High Court today declared that eight BEd colleges affiliated to North Bengal University were illegal as these institutions had not been recognised by the National Council for Teachers' Education (NCTE).
Under the National Council for Teachers' Education Act, 1993, it is mandatory for institutions to obtain recognition from the NCTE before starting training courses for teachers.
The division bench of Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice A.K. Ganguly, in its verdict, told the institutions not to admit further students before obtaining NCTE recognition.
Satish Chandra BEd College of Malda, Gangarampur BEd College in South Dinajpur, Raiganj BEd College, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad BEd College in Itahar, Eastern Dooars BEd College in Alipurduar, Falakata BEd College, Ananda Chandra Training College in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar BEd College are the eight institutions that have come under the court scanner.
The high court has asked the authorities of these colleges to refund within three months the fees collected from students who were admitted to the 2005-2006 BEd course. In addition, the college authorities will also have to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to each student for their loss of one year. The bench has also restrained NBU from conducting examinations in these colleges. The court verdict follows a PIL filed by two residents of Malda who alleged that the university had illegally given affiliation to these colleges.
'The necessity of the young students getting quality education at the secondary and the higher secondary level cannot be denied. Therefore, if such colleges turn out into a teacher manufacturing industry creating half-baked teachers without having any infrastructural facilities or without being armed with quality standard professions, the end product is bound to be affected'We cannot risk that,' the judges said in their verdict. In south Bengal, at least 115 primary teachers' training institutes are facing trial on same ground.
While students in north Bengal were devastated by the verdict, there were mixed reactions from some of the colleges.
'A team from the NCTE is scheduled to visit our college on April 24 and if we receive the affiliation soon, we will approach the high court for further directions,' said Prasanta Das, the secretary of Gangarampur BEd College.
While the administration of Satish Chandra BEd College could not be contacted, its students were at a loss to explain the situation. 'We had paid over Rs 22,000 for admission, but we are not worried about the money. What about the time that was wasted,' said Hamidur Sheikh, one of the students.
The principal of Cooch Behar BEd Training College, Bibijoy De Sarkar, said he would appeal to the Supreme Court against today's verdict. 'Why single out eight colleges when there are so many across the country' An NCTE team was scheduled to arrive here in a week but the order was passed before that,' he said.