Thu, 11 Aug 2022

New Delhi [India], August 2 (ANI): Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking her to "take necessary corrective measures to restore the confidence of people" in the state's education system in the wake of the massive School Service Commission (SSC) scam in the state.

In his letter, Pradhan said, "As you are aware, education is the foundation for an equitable and just society and is a core essential to maximize our country's rich talent and resources. Teachers are at the center of the education system and recruitment of them through a transparent process is crucial to ensure respect, dignity and at the same time instilling accountability in the system."He expressed concern over the large number of representations received from West Bengal teachers regarding irregularities in recruitment in the state.

"A large number of representations received from various teachers and teacher organizations from West Bengal regarding irregularities in the teacher recruitment in West Bengal is a matter of grave concern. The future of youth who would be the guiding force for the coming generations is being adversely impacted by such irregularities," the Union Education Minister said in the letter.

Pradhan said the recruitment process was compromised and several petitions against the process had been filed.

"In this regard, I would like to bring your attention towards certain instances. The process for the appointment of teachers through the State Level Selection Test (SLST) has been started in 2014. However, actual recruitments. could take place only two years later in 2016. Further, the recruitment process was compromised and several petitions against this process were filed," he said.

"Another related case is the recruitment process of Group C and D staff in government-run or aided schools as notified by the state government in 2016 to the School Service Commission (SSC), is also a matter of grave concern. You would appreciate that teachers are without doubt one of the pillars of our society," Pradhan added.

The Union Minister said that teachers give children a purpose, set them up for success as citizens of our world, and inspire them to succeed in life.

"Hence, the irregularities found in the teacher recruitment scam of West Bengal will certainly hamper the quality of education and demotivate the future generation. I sincerely urge you to take necessary corrective measures to restore the confidence of the people. I would like to assure you of our continuous support and highest consideration to ensure access to quality education for all children in West Bengal," Pradhan told Banerjee.

The letter comes in the backdrop of the arrest of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the SSC scam.

The arrest of Partha Chatterjee followed recovery of crores in cash and jewellery from the Kolkata residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former education minister. The ED unearthed many disproportionate assets which it alleged were linked to Chatterjee.

However, Chatterjee had denied his involvement in the School Service Commission (SSC) scam and asserted that the "money does not belong to him".

"When the time comes, you will know...the money does not belong to me," he told media persons.

Arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee - who is now suspended from the Trinamool Congress - and his aide Arpita Mukherjee have separately been claiming that they are "victim(s) of a conspiracy."Trinamool Congress, which has distanced itself from Chatterjee, axed him as a minister and suspended him from the party leaving it solely to him to defend himself in the Enforcement Directorate probe. (ANI)

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