The Trinamool Congress government will soon be issuing an order which will change the nature of students’ unions in West Bengal.The educational institutions in the State have been subjected to unprecedented violence during college election which leads to bloodshed, manhandling of the faculty members, and even deaths of students and police. This causes an hindrance to provide quality education and peaceful environment for the students.
While the State government has not yet provided the students a formal notification, details that have come out suggest that a principal or a college teacher will hold the post of students’ union president. Similarly, a college or university teacher will be treasurer of the body, robbing the union of any financial freedom. This step has been taken as funds were one of the main reasons which lead to bloodshed amongst students.
The Education Minister of West Bengal, Partho Chatterjee informed that the students with less than 60 % of attendance would not be allowed to file nominations in the elections. “The students will also be barred from contesting the elections after taking admission in the same year for two consecutive years,” he maintained.Hence forward the students’ unions would be rechristened as students’ councils the strength of will be limited to 10 for bigger colleges and 7 for smaller ones.Other proposals are in consonance with the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee.
Following the footsteps of some top institutions like St Xavier’s and Lady Brabourne Colleges, which have already disposed political students’ unions, the State Government has drafted a new policy that would govern elections in colleges.
Students in West Bengal are gearing up for battle against the state’s proposed policy, with the Left-wing Students’ Federation of India issuing a statement that it will protest on the streets if the new rules are notified.“Nothing can be called apolitical and if those above 18 years can exercise their franchise, why can’t they have their elected representatives in colleges and universities,” said Madhuja Sen Roy, president of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The aim of such a change is to depoliticize students’ unions. It is also aimed at doing away with the embarrassment of the ruling party over large-scale violence during students’ union elections.