Madarsa TET proposal in Bengal court

The West Bengal government has informed Calcutta High Court it wanted to amend the West Bengal Madarsa Service Commission Act and introduce a system akin to the centralised teachers’ eligibility test to recruit teachers in the state-recognised Muslim educational institutions.

Advocate-general Jayanta Mitra submitted in court a draft proposal of the amendment to the West Bengal Madarsa Service Commission Act.

While Bikash Bhattacharyya, the counsel for the Contai Rahamania High Madarsa management committee, did not object to the centralised TET model for selection of teachers, he added a rider. “We have no objection as far as TET is concerned, but the notification should be issued in the light of the notification the government had issued in the case of recruitment of teachers in institutions run by the Christian community,” Bhattacharyya told the court today.

In the TET format, after the candidates are selected, a panel is formed of the successful candidates. For primary schools, the district primary school councils decide which candidate should be posted where. For secondary schools, the School Service Commission is the decision-maker.

A senior lawyer on the government’s side explained: “The managing committees of the madarsas have agreed that there should be academic criteria for teachers recruited for madarsas. But they want the authority to appoint the teachers selected through the TET in the respective madarsas.”

In the draft proposal, the government said that the TET for madarsas should be conducted by the Madarsa Service Commission, not by the managing committees of individual madarsas recognised by the state government. According to the draft, the various madarsa managing committees would appoint teachers from candidates selected by the Madarsa Service Commission.

When the division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Joymalya Bagchi asked all sides if they would accept the proposal, they agreed, but Bhattacharyya asked the advocate-general to add the point on safeguarding the authority of the managing committee to have a say in the final recruitment. The advocate-general said in court: “Okay, then I will submit a revised draft proposal after two weeks.”

Teachers’ recruitment in madarsas has been a contentious issue. While madarsas want it to be left to the managing committees, the government wants it to be done through the commission.

In June, the Contai Rahamania High Madarsa challenged the recruitment law and won the case, after which the state proposed to draw up guidelines for recruitment. Courtesy: The Telegraph, Kolkata

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