According to the Commission’s chairman Ranajit Basu, the decision was taken with a view to fill the vacant posts in the reserved category. “Vacancies in the reserved category are piling up. Schools have to suffer because of lack of teachers,” said Basu.
Sources in the Commission said it is difficult to get candidates with mathematics (honours) and bio-sciences (honours) in the reserved category for SCs and STs. Even if there are a few such candidates, they cannot score the pass mark unless it is lowered significantly, they said.
However, academicians and teachers’ bodies see it as an attempt to recruit maximum number of teachers before the Assembly elections due in 2011. “The lowering of pass marks significantly shows falling academic standards in the state. There are candidates who scored zero marks in the examination for the post of headmasters,” said Subhankar Bhattacharya, the general secretary of Secondary Employees and Teachers’ Association (STEA).
Even in case of general candidates, the pass marks were lowered in mathematics and bio-sciences from 40 per cent to 30 per cent. “What will these candidates teach once they are
appointed in schools?” said Ashok Maity, the general secretary of West Bengal Headmasters’ Association.