The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stick and sack for class-bunk teachers

Burdwan, March 26: Two dozen schoolteachers have been sacked in Burdwan and 94 transferred or denied salary and increments for offences that include bunking classes and submitting fake mark sheets.

The district primary school council has terminated the services of six teachers for not attending classes for eight months in a row.

“We have sacked 18 teachers for submitting fake Madhyamik mark sheets and transferred 16 to remote areas for poor attendance,” said council chairman Saidul Haque.

Three headmasters have been demoted to assistant teacher rank for irregular attendance. They will never be promoted again.

Over 60 teachers will not get their salary for three months for the same offence.

“We have also stopped the increments of 12 teachers for three years,” said Haque.

A primary teacher earns a salary of Rs 6,500 a month on an average and gets an annual increment of Rs 100 to Rs 200.

The teachers whose salary has been withheld will get the money later in instalments.

A school education department official said this was the biggest crackdown on errant teachers in one district. The move followed a probe ordered last year in the wake of complaints by guardians and school authorities.

“An exercise to restructure the school education system — curriculum, assessment of students and examinations — is underway and action against erring teachers will also be taken in other districts,” the official added.

All district school councils have been told to monitor teachers and given “the autonomy to decide on action”.

One of the teachers, Shyamsundar Mukherjee, who was mostly busy tilling his family land to the south of Burdwan town, has been transferred to Bhatar in the north.

“I’ve learnt my lesson,” said Shyamsundar, 35. “I don’t want to lose my job. I have made it clear to my family that I won’t be able to cultivate the land any longer.”

Himadri Sarkar, whose increment has been stopped, said: “I sometimes go to North Dinajpur where my wife and children stay. She is also a government employee there.”

Haque said the administration wanted to “set an example” for all teachers in the district. “We started the probe after being flooded with complaints.”

The teachers had been warned initially, but that did not work.

The CPM-dominated All Bengal Primary Teachers Association welcomed the council’s action. “Teachers will now think twice before skipping classes,” said its Burdwan secretary, Madhablal Ghosh.

He reminded the council, though, that around 2,500 primary teacher posts were vacant in the district.

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