On her maiden trip to the state after taking charge as the HRD Minister, Irani also held talks with West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was present during her interaction with the Chief Minister.

Though there was no official briefing on what transpired at the meeting, it was understood that the state government suggested extension of the midday meal scheme to classes 9 and 10. Steps needed to improve the standards of various central-funded institutes also came up during the meeting.

Irani also met the students, who have been protesting against alleged irregularities in teacher recruitment in state-run schools. The students later said Irani told them that the Centre was against giving any extension to the state government on the matter of recruiting non-trained teachers in state-run schools.

The state government recently wrote to the Centre requesting that it be allowed to appoint non-trained candidates as teachers.

"Madam said the government could not accept that the future of the country is put in the hands of untrained teachers. Jobs are being given to students who don't have B.Ed degrees. Though we hold B.Ed degrees, we don't get preference. She has asked for two weeks time to look into the matter," said an agitating student.

(Agencies)

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