President of furore-hit HS council replaced
The Bengal education department on Friday appointed Jadavpur University pro-vice-chancellor Chiranjib Bhattacharjee as president of the state higher secondary council.
Bhattacharjee replaces Mahua Das.
The decision comes three weeks after students’ grievances against higher secondary results triggered a backlash across the state.
Bhattacharjee said he would assume charge on Monday and continue as JU’s pro-VC as well.
An official of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education said that over the past week, all notices of the council were being issued by Tapas Mukherjee, the secretary-in-charge. Earlier, Das used to issue notices.
Sources in the education department said Bhattacharjee was sounded out by education minister Bratya Basu about the new responsibilities in late July.
Around 20,000 of the 8,19,202 examinees did not pass HS. The results were announced on July 22.
Violent protests by unsuccessful students had been reported since July 23, following which, on the evening of July 24, chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi called Das to Nabanna to explain what triggered the grievances.
On August 2, the council announced that “almost 100 per cent” candidates had passed after a review of marks of 18,000 students who had initially failed.
Apart from being aggrieved over detention, a section of students are upset because the number of top graders declined drastically compared to last year even as the pass percentage witnessed a jump, said an official of the department.
The headmaster of a school in central Calcutta said since the CBSE and ISC results have seen a surge in highest grade scorers, those who have passed HS are fearing they might lag behind their counterparts from other boards while securing admission to undergraduate courses.
According to statistics that Das had released on July 22, the number of candidates who got ‘O’ grade — between 90 and 10 marks — came down to 9,013 this year from 30,220 in 2020.
The number of A+ grade (between 80 and 89) recipients dropped to 49,370 from 84,746 last year.
The number of A grade (70-79) recipients stands at 95,758 against last year’s 96,825.
The number of B+ grade (60-69) recipients, however, increased to 1,65,186 from 1,10,265 in 2020.
“Since the state government has barred the state-aided colleges and universities from carrying out any admission tests while screening candidates for undergraduate courses and mandated marks based admission, the students of the state board are fearing an unequal competition. Thousands of students have applied for review of marks even as the undergraduate application submission process is on. The council is publishing the review results in several phases,” said a headmaster.
Repeated calls to Das went unanswered.
Bhattacharjee said: “I will try my level best to further streamline the evaluation process.”