Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the University Grants Commission (UGC) of stopping scholarship grants to researchers and issuing “fatwa” to higher educational institutes in the state.
Mamata was speaking to reporters after a meeting with vice-chancellors of universities, principals of colleges and presidents of the primary and secondary education board, at the state secretariat here.
“We have received complaints from various colleges and universities about UGC stopping grants for scholarship for PhD projects under National Eligibility Test (NET),” she said.
“Many representatives of universities and colleges have also informed us that they (the UGC) are regularly issuing ‘fatwa’ on different issues. This is not proper,” the CM added.
Govt’s efforts to bridge gap in education sector
This is the second time CM Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with vice-chancellors and principals to address issues concerning the education sector. She started this exercise in 2017 following the success of a similar meeting with medical establishments. The aim of such direct interactions with the heads of the higher education institutes, according to party sources, is to ensure that these function in a proper way. “These meetings also help to address various issues on time. The chief minister has prioritised the education sector and has been making efforts to improve it. This is definitely a step towards the right direction,” said an educationist.
The chief minister also said that the state government is contemplating appointing college and university passouts as “interns” in state-run schools in remote areas to overcome the problem of shortage of teachers in the areas.
“There are many schools in the rural areas which are reeling under teacher crisis. For areas like Sundarbans, Jangalmahal or Dooars, we have proposed to appoint college and university passouts as interns for two years to solve the problem. They will be given certificates after the completion of their internship. Based on their performance, they will also get priority during teachers’ recruitment,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. The graduates will be considered for internship in primary schools and postgraduates in secondary and higher secondary schools, she added.
“The interns will be given a monthly honourarium of Rs 2,000 (primary schools) and Rs 2,500 (secondary and higher secondary schools). The finer details of the proposal will be worked out,” she added.
The chief minister also proposed to move Class 5 to the primary level to address the teacher crisis.
“We have proposed that Class 5 be moved to primary level to meet the challenge. Since there are many teachers at primary level, this move will mitigate the problem to an extent,” she said. At present,
The primary schools here are for children studying from Class 1 to 4. The chief minister Monday formed an umbrella committee consisting of education minister, higher education secretary, vice-chancellors of Jadavpur University, Calcutta University and Presidency University who have been asked to share their expertise with the universities in the districts.
(With inputs from PTI)