WB higher education minister’s statement on school vacancies fuels controversy
More than 55,000 posts of school teachers are lying vacant in West Bengal, state education minister Bratya Basu said
More than 55,000 posts of school teachers are lying vacant in West Bengal, state education minister Bratya Basu said on Wednesday, a day after his statement in the assembly claiming that there were only 781 vacancies in state-run schools.
“I had made some statements about vacancies, which has triggered a controversy”, Basu said.
Basu said he had given an approximate figure on Tuesday in the assembly, however, the actual number of vacancies is much more.
Giving in detail, the figures, Basu said, “In 2022, we sent a list of 11,765 vacancies to the primary education board. In upper primary, we have sent a list of 14,339 vacancies. On the orders of the Calcutta high court, counselling of candidates is going on now. At the Madhyamik (secondary) level, we have sent a list of more than 13,500 vacancies, and at the higher secondary level, the number is more than 5,500.”
“As of now, there are 13 vacancies in higher secondary schools. At the secondary level it is 28, upper primary level it is 473 and in primary schools is it 267,” he said, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) claim that there are more than 300,000 vacancies is totally false.
This comes at a time when both central agencies– the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation are probing the multi-crore recruitment scam in government schools in the state.
At least three ruling Trinamool Congress legislators, including the former state education minister, along with some former top government officials of the state education department, are now in jail.
Soon after Basu’s statement, the Opposition stepped up its attack while accusing the government of corruption.
“On Tuesday he said there were 781 vacancies and today he is saying there are more than 55,000 vacancies. It seems that the education minister has failed in primary-level mathematics. This is how they suppress and spread false information. They want to confuse the people so that irregularities may continue,” Sujan Chakraborty, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, told the media on Wednesday.
Rahul Sinha, West Bengal BJP president accused the TMC-led West Bengal government of being involved in scams at every level.
“This government is full of scams and irregularities. The party leaders are involved in multiple scams and have stolen money from everywhere. Now they are even stealing numbers even as job aspirants are demonstrating and demanding placements. If this is how the state education minister behaves, then one can well imagine the status of education in the state,” Sinha said.