Kolkata: Rabiranjan Chatterjee, Trinamool MLA and former technical education minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet on Wednesday put the Bengal government in “major embarrassment” by expressing displeasure over the style of functioning of the higher education department.
Participating in the discussion on higher education budget in the Assembly, Chatterjee said, “I cannot see any effort on part of the state government to improve the standard of higher education in Bengal. Whatever is happening in this sector is being done by NAAC-UGC. The state is only allocating budgetary sanctions. But that cannot be the only work of the government.”
He added that he had been witnessing undesirable development quite often these days in universities and colleges.
A senior Trinamool leader said Chattejee’s comments in the House were a “major embarrassment” for the government.
“That a ruling party MLA and former minister spoke against the higher education department is a major embarrassment for the government,” the party leader said.
In his reply, education minister Partha Chatterjee said, “There is no compromise on the quality of education in higher education sector in the state. One should not make statements based on developments in four-five colleges across the state. I would tell all to read the book of Santosh Bhattacharya that will tell you the story of the past.”
Asked about his comments, Chatterjee later said: “I did not say the education minister is not doing anything. He is giving his effort but nothing positive is visible yet.”
A former teacher of Presidency University said whatever Chattopadhayay had said about the institution was “absolutely correct”.
The institute which the chief minister had hoped would elevate itself into a “world class institute” by 2017 – the year of the institute’s bicentennial – failed to fill 300 seats spread over undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Presidency had been allotted over Rs 200 crore during 2015-16 fiscal, distinguishing it from the other state universities by the Mamata Banerjee government.