The Telegraph
Monday , January 30 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sir will click, never cane

- Cameras fill teacher slots as govt drags feet

Nagarukhra (Nadia), Jan. 29: Machines have replaced masters in some classes at a Nadia school because the government would not fill vacancies.

Closed-circuit cameras now keep watch over the teacher-less classes and relay the directives of the headmaster at Dighalgram Netaji Vidyapith High School in Nagarukhra.

The school has 12 teachers, including the headmaster, against the 14 sanctioned posts for its 1,250 students. In order to plug the shortfall, the school’s managing committee, teachers and the headmaster pooled together Rs 3.75 lakh on their own and tapped technology last week.

“The school has been running short of faculty for nearly 10 years now. We have 14 sanctioned posts for teachers. But at present, we have 12. Two teachers retired six years ago. Since then, we have repeatedly appealed to the school education department for more teachers but we have not received any response. There are times when classes are without teachers and students become unruly. So, I thought of this system in December,” said headmaster Santanu Mondal

The decision to install the cameras in all the rooms from Classes V to X was taken by the managing committee, which, along with the teachers, contributed for the equipment.

“As the school did not have separate funds for this kind of expenditure, it was decided that six members of the committee, the headmaster and the teachers would contribute. We raised Rs 3.75 lakh and installed the system on January 24,” said Mokaddesh Mondal, the secretary of the school managing committee.

Saibal Chakraborty, the sub-divisional officer of Kalyani, said he would raise the issue of the shortage of teachers with the education department. “I have come to know about the shortage of teachers. I will communicate with the education department for the recruitment of more teachers,” he said.

Asked about the shortage of teachers in rural schools across Bengal, an education department official said: “Appointment of secondary teachers is made through the school service commission. About 50,000 teachers would be recruited through the commission this year. We hope more faculty members will be appointed at the school concerned during the recruitment drive.”

Headmaster Mondal now keeps an eye on the classrooms where there are no teachers through a monitor on his desk and also instructs the students through a speaker installed in each room.

“The students now know they are being watched. They maintain silence and discipline and do the tasks I set for them over the speakers,” said Mondal.

Sukur Ali Mondal, father of a student of the school, said though he would prefer that teachers fill the vacant posts, he supported the school’s efforts to install cameras for the time being.

“The school has inadequate number of teachers and so I can understand the difficulty the authorities face to manage the students. But the school has come up with a novel idea,” said Sukur.