Education minister Partha Chatterjee on Thursday asked principals of state-aided colleges to examine whether full-time teachers could work six days a week.
College teachers are at present required to be present five days a week to ensure that they get one day every week for preparatory work outside the campus, including library study and research.
Principals of several colleges complained to the minister on Thursday that Saturday being a half day in all colleges, most teachers work for only four-and-a-half days in a week. This led to a shortage of teachers and difficulty in completing the syllabus.
Chatterjee on Thursday met college principals and vice-chancellors of universities and senior officials of the higher education department at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre auditorium in Salt Lake to discuss various issues about smooth functioning of state-aided colleges and universities in Bengal.
The minister, however, told the principals he was not aware of any order being issued by the higher education department allowing college teachers to get a day off every week for preparatory work, a principal who attended the meeting told The Telegraph.
The five-day schedule for college teachers started during the Left regime.
Chatterjee said after the meeting that he had asked colleges to draw up a plan to ensure that teachers could spend adequate time in college and see if a six-day schedule could be introduced.
“Teachers need to spend more time in college. I have asked them (principals) to prepare a plan to increase the teaching hours in colleges. Doing away with the existing practice of a preparatory day off is one of them. There can be other proposals too…. We are ready to consider any proposal that suits colleges,” he said.
Some principals proposed to keep colleges fully closed on Saturdays. “All teachers would be present on all five days from Monday to Friday if the college remains closed on Saturdays. We will then have more teachers on all days,” said the principal of a college.
The Trinamul government has been planning to raise the number of teaching hours in colleges since 2013. But it had failed to implement it because of resistance from both Trinamul and Left-backed unions.