The West Bengal government will bring class 5 to the primary level from January 2020, Education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Monday. Speaking to the news agency PTI, Chatterjee said, "Following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement regarding this effect last week, a meeting of education department officials and the minister decided to set up the required infrastructure in schools where fifth standard classes will start from January 2020".
"Rooms for class 5 are already there in integrated schools (those having both primary and secondary sections). In one year, we will have lots of time for the creation of rooms in other institutions which don’t have similar facilities," the minister said. Once the infrastructure is ready, class 5 will be brought at the primary level by January 2020, he added.
On January 14, the chief minister had announced that her government was mulling over a two-pronged strategy to meet the crisis of teachers in state-run schools. The steps would be bringing class 5 to the primary level, and graduates would be recruited as interns in primary and secondary schools.
Asked about recruiting graduates as interns, Chatterjee said, "This is not recruitment. Interns are not recruited. We are evaluating the whole situation in different institutions and mulling over the scope to get interns".
On the issue of pass-fail at classes five and eight, Chatterjee said, "We are not against the pass-fail system. But it has to be seen that those who have failed should not be driven out of schools but instead are allowed to attend special classes".
Referring to the report that the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) question papers for D.El.Ed examination were leaked in West Bengal, he said the state will write to the Centre to reconsider the decision to hold re-examination of two papers on the same day in February as it would inconvenience the candidates. It would also be asked why the examinations were only cancelled only in West Bengal, he said.