| Bhattacharjee and Chakraborty
Bankura, Nov. 18: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today regretted the government’s decision to open under-graduate colleges “haphazardly under political pressure”, which had caused inconvenience to students.
“We took a wrong decision to set up under-graduate colleges under political pressure without taking into account the needs of students. As a result, colleges have come up in a haphazard manner,” Bhattacharjee said while inaugurating the 77th state conference of the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association at the Bankura Sammilani College ground, about 240 km from Calcutta.
“I feel embarrassed to see students travelling 15 to 20 km to reach colleges. It is strange that in some places there are no colleges even though there are plenty of students, while in others, colleges are clustered without enough students to fill them up. The colleges were not set up properly.”
Bhattacharjee’s statements are being viewed as a veiled criticism of former higher education minister Satya Sadhan Chakraborty, under whose tenure the colleges had come up. Chakraborty and four other education ministers were dropped earlier this year.
The chief minister asked higher education minister Sudarshan Raychaudhuri, present at the conference, to prepare a comprehensive plan on the status of higher education and requirements of colleges. “We have to take lessons from our mistakes,” he said.
Bhattacharjee also expressed concern over poor performance by students of some universities. “Why should only some universities or colleges produce good students'” he asked.
The chief minister was also unhappy with the state’s vocational education system. “We are lagging behind in introducing vocational courses. Everyone cannot get a first class in exams. What will they do if we do not create options for them' We want to make vocational studies popular among such students,” he said.
Earlier, inaugurating a 12 MW captive power plant project at a private steel and sponge iron unit at Junebedia in Bankura, Bhattacharjee said his government would go ahead with its industrialisation drive. “We have the people’s mandate to go ahead with industrialisation. So, only 30 Opposition members cannot dictate to 235 of us.”