A minister of state in the education department of Bengal has filed a complaint with his own department, alleging that at least nine private colleges in North Dinajpur are charging exorbitant fees from students of BEd and DElEd courses despite lacking adequate infrastructure.
Satyajit Barman, the MLA of Hemtabad in the district, has sent a letter to the president of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, seeking his intervention on the issue. The BEd (bachelor of education) degree is required for any candidate who intends to be a teacher in a secondary or higher secondary state-aided school.
The DElEd (diploma in elementary education) is needed for teachers of state-aided primary schools, which is why Barman has flagged the issue to the state board of primary education.
“We found that nine colleges, which offer either of these two courses or both courses, charge excessive fees from students. Most of these colleges do not have proper infrastructure. There is an absence of teachers and classes are irregular. The education department should probe the case and take appropriate steps,” said Barman.
Among the nine private colleges he mentioned, eight are located in his Assembly constituency and the last one is in the neighbouring Raiganj.
Such a complaint by the junior minister of the state education department has led to political ripples.
“The complaint proves how miserably the education department is being run by the Mamata Banerjee government. They have given approval to such institutions to run and provide degrees and diplomas to students without appropriate infrastructure...,” said a senior Congress leader of the district.
Sources in the state board said they received the minister’s complaint. “The matter will be looked into. If required, teams will be sent to check out the veracity of the complaint,” said a source.
One of the principals denied Barman’s charges. “We heard about the minister’s complaint. Let us be clear that we have all the infrastructure required under the guidelines of the state education department. We are ready to face any probe,” said Sanghamitra Ghosh, the principal of one of these colleges.