BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 8: Long on thought and short on action seems to be the hallmark of Dispur, no matter who rules it. Among others, women in the State have fallen prey to such a gross negligence. What else can corroborate this best other than the plight of the lone women’s university in the State, the first of its kind in the Northeast?
‘Women empowerment’ and ‘women emancipation’ are buzzwords among those at the helm of affairs in education who continue to fall short of doing enough which ‘women empowerment’ and women emancipation’ exactly demand. Assam Women’s University (AWU), Jorhat is a living story painting the gloomy picture of importance which women in the State get from the State Government. While the plight of the women’s university led some of its misty-eyed staff raise the issue before the State Assembly Speaker, its girl students, along with All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) activists, had to shout slogans full-throttle at Jorhat demanding rescue of the moribund institute of higher education. And all these occurred on the International Women’s Day. Is this not enough for those at the helm of affairs to hang their heads in shame?
The university cuts a sorry figure on all fronts – be it in manpower or infrastructure. This fact would suffice that the university does not have a single permanent employee, right from its Vice Chancellor to fourth grade employees. The VC is a ‘mentor VC’ from AWU’s mentor university – Assam Agriculture University (AAU), Jorhat. The other posts of the university are either ad-hoc or contractual ones, even as they were selected in accordance with UGC guidelines. On the contrary, the university has some 500 students, including students from foreign countries as far as Nigeria. Such a gross negligence on the part of Dispur has bled the university dry by negating it from getting UGC funds that could have made it self-reliant. While 33 faculty members of the university are ad hoc ones, 15 are contractual teachers. The university has both executive council (EC) and academic council (AC), but without any government nominees (MLAs). The UGC does not approve funds to a university whose EC and AC do not have government nominees. If this is not a case of gross neglect to women, what else is?
The Union Ministry of Human Resources Development has made it mandatory for all States to open women universities this year. Assam did open such a university way back in 2014 only to leave it languishing in utter negligence.
Such a plight of the university came to light on Thursday when State Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami was taking stock of higher education with various stakeholders at the Assembly Secretariat. A section of misty-eyed staff of the university laid bare all that the university has all along been afflicted with.
On his part, the Speaker said: “I’m in the know of the plight of the university. We need to know the mindset of the Government towards the university. A question arises: if the university is moribund. If a woman university is to be set up in the State, its plight shouldn’t be what’s glaring in this university.”
The university was established under the Assam Women’s University Act, 2013 by the Assam Government. It started functioning from 2014. It has 15 prost graduate, diploma and degree courses, both traditional and professional ones. It is a UGC-affiliated university.
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER