Kolkata: Eight teacher organisations of West Bengal on Thursday threatened to launch a protest movement in campuses over the higher education department’s move to discuss the issue of human resource management system (HRMS) in state universities, labelling it as an attempt to curb the autonomy of colleges and universities.
In a letter to Education Minister Bratya Basu, the organisations said “we would sincerely expect that your department shall consider the concerns of the teachers’ associations seriously and shall prevent itself from playing with the autonomous status of the public-funded universities”.
The organisations include the Calcutta University Teachers Association (CUTA), Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) and Rabindra Bharati University Teachers Association (RBUTA).
“Otherwise, the associations shall be left with no other option but to start a protest movement against the decision.The associations are also prepared to fight the case in the courts too if the decision is implemented,” the letter said.
In a recent communique to the finance officers of state-aided universities, an official of the level of an assistant secretary had asked them to join a meeting on September 20 to discuss the issue “regarding HRMS in the state-aided universities”.
Dubbing it as a clear indication of the government’s unholy design to turn university campuses into offices of the higher education department by systematically snatching away the rights of these autonomous institutions, Roy said former education minister Partha Chatterjee had tried to implement this policy in 2018, but faced resistance from teachers’ bodies.
“This time too, it seems, the government is hell-bent on introducing the same policy that was unanimously rejected by the teachers’ bodies of the state. In doing so, the state government is violating the basic structure of a federal system, against which this government has raised its voice time and again.
“Under the circumstance, we would humbly request you to reconsider the matter in the best interest of each and every individual associated with the state-aided universities,” the teacher bodies said in the letter.
A higher education department official said the September 20 meeting was aimed at discussing the financial situation of every university, and the crisis faced by some due to non-release of UGC grants to run ongoing projects.
“It had nothing to do with the salary of the staff,” he added.