In an unprecedented move, a high school in West Bengal suspended over 700 of its students for taking private tuitions on Thursday.
This came at a time when the state school education department failed to curb private tuition after banning it last year. State school education minister Partha De even admitted recently that over 80 percent students in the state took private tuition.
St Xavier’s School in Durgapur, around 180 Km southwest of Kolkata, took the drastic step and suspended 720 of its high school students for a month, who were found guilty of availing private tuitions.
School authorities, however, were not ready to reveal how they discovered this. According to school sources, most of the students between classes V and X were taking private tuitions from teachers of their own school.
While the suspension came as a shock, the school had earlier alerted its students with a written note against private tuitions. “Students will not take tuition from own school teachers and school teachers will not give private lessons. Defaulters will be dismissed from the school,” the note said.
Secretary of the local Guardian’s Register Forum Jainul Haque pointed out that if the school provided quality education, students would not need private tuitions. “If the school wants to bar teachers from imparting tuitions they should not victimize students. What can students and their parents do if teachers influence them to take private tuitions?” he asked.
Headmaster K K Debasish admitted it was the school’s duty to ensure students didn’t need help outside of classrooms. He, however, expressed inability to catch teachers red-handed. “We can haul up teachers if studies inside classrooms suffer due to private tuitions. Since students are scoring well it’s impossible to take steps against teachers,” he said.
According to school authorities, it was also hard to catch teachers since they didn’t offer lessons in their own homes. “They conduct these lessons at houses of particular students where others gather in batches,” a source said.
School authorities agreed to hold a meeting on Friday on request of several parents and guardians. The suspension order would be on hold for the time being.