The West Bengal Board of Primary Education on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of directly recruiting Teacher Eligibility Test candidates who had qualified in the 2014 exams, but could not clear the interview. Board president Goutam Paul told reporters that it cannot directly recruit them if their names did not figure in the panel, and asked them to sit for the tests and interviews again.
“How can we take candidates from outside the panel, merit list? The board will not be in a position to accede to such pleas,” Paul said. Agitating candidates, however, refused to budge and vowed to continue their sit-in near the office of the board in Salt Lake, claiming they were unfairly omitted from the 2014 panel after two rounds of interviews, and demanded they be given appointment letters immediately.
The protests entered the third day, with around 20 demonstrators on an indefinite fast since Tuesday morning. About reports that eligible TET candidates were deprived of jobs while undeserving ones were chosen during the tenure of his predecessors in the board, Paul said, “The matter is being investigated and as per the directive of the high court, several candidates have already been recruited.” “We are ensuring transparency and fairness in the recruitment process. I urge them (agitators) to have faith in us and withdraw the sit-in, which is disrupting the functioning of the board,” he said.
The Jadavpur University Teachers Association, in a statement, pledged support to the protesting TET candidates of 2014. “We are on their side. We demand that each and every TET-qualified person be given jobs,” JUTA general secretary Partha Pratim Roy said.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu claimed that some political parties want the impasse to continue for their narrow gains. “There is a possibility that the agitation is getting prolonged under the instruction of these forces, which don’t want the process of recruitment to begin quickly,” Basu told reporters in Dumdum. Without interview, no candidate can be given appointment letter. Such a practice has not been followed anywhere, Basu added.