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A number of non-existent private colleges conferring Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) and Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) certificates in West Bengal are currently under the scanner of the two central agenciesprobing the multi-crore teachers' recruitment irregularities scam.
Initial findings by the central agencies, especially by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), have revealed that a number of primary teachers currently employed in different state-run schools, whose process of recruitments are under question, received their B.Ed or D.El.Ed certificates from these mushrooming private institutions in the state.
Sources said that investigations have also revealed that many of those private institutes through having registrations are virtually non-existent with many of them having neither proper institute buildings nor necessary infrastructure nor faculty required to train on teaching skills.
"However, many of these private institutes are charging hefty amounts as course fees which are much higher than what are charged by state-run B.Ed and D.El.Ed colleges. Despite the essentials required for proper teachers' training, these institutes attracted enrolment by a substantial number of candidates every year and many of them at a later stage secured primary teachers' job by virtue of the degree or diploma certificates conferred by these institutes," an ED source said.
Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Tapas Mondal, president of All Bengal Teachers' Training Achievers' Association (ABTTAA), an umbrella organisation of such private teachers' training institutes.
Mondal, a close confidant of Trinamool Congress legislator and former president of West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE) Manik Bhattacharya, had also been questioned by ED in this connection a number of times.
Now the question comes how these private institutes managed to secure the registration despite not having proper building or infrastructure or faculty, when the standard operating procedure is that registration is allowed only after proper investigation by the competent authorities under the state education department.
"Without a money-game involving hefty amounts this would not have been possible. The teachers' scam in the state had been like a labyrinth, where one angle of the scam is leading to a number of other angles," the ED source added.