Haldia loses its Xavier's

The Jesuit Fathers are exiting a CBSE-affiliated St Xavier's institution set up in Haldia 47 years ago after a dispute over allegedly inadequate funding and interference by the two public sector companies that co-own the campus.

By Mita Mukherjee in Calcutta
  • Published 31.03.18
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Calcutta: The Jesuit Fathers are exiting a CBSE-affiliated St Xavier's institution set up in Haldia 47 years ago after a dispute over allegedly inadequate funding and interference by the two public sector companies that co-own the campus.

St Xavier's School, Haldia, will become part of the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (DAV) group of institutions from April 1, according to a notice on its website.

"The Jesuit Fathers will be in charge of St Xavier's School, Haldia, only up to March 31, 2018. From April 1, 2018, the school transfers to DAV School. The Jesuit Fathers have nothing to do with the administration of the school from then on," states the notice.

Father Ajay Kumar Ekka is the current principal of the school, established in 1971 by the Society of Jesus with infrastructure and funding by Indian Oil and Calcutta Port Trust.

The two companies had invited the Jesuit Fathers to set up the co-educational school to ensure quality education for their employees' children.

A church official said the school had been facing problems over the past few years because neither company had allegedly kept their commitment of financial and other support to maintain the standard expected of a St Xavier's institution.

"The school is owned and fully financed by two public sector companies. It is administered by the Calcutta Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Fathers). We had been facing some problems over the past few years. The teachers were not being paid proper salaries, They (the owners) were not maintaining the school well.... There has been interference in certain administrative matters. It is not possible for us to run the school this way," the official said.

Jitendra Saha, whose two children are students of the same school where he studied from kindergarten till Class XII, said he was "shattered" by the news of the Jesuit Fathers' exit.

"I can't believe my daughter and son won't be called Xaverians from tomorrow," he told Metro. "This is a great loss for past and present students. We are strongly opposed to the manner in which the companies had been interfering in the autonomy of the Jesuit Fathers. They should have realised that this is a loss for this entire industrial town."

An official of Indian Oil accused the "school management" of not following CBSE norms. "There were differences in opinion about how to run the school. The management was not abiding by the stipulation to hire teachers with BEd or an equivalent degree. They were also not implementing the retirement age of 60. An amicable solution (to the dispute) could not be arrived at," he said.