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Cottonians to intensify stir against merger

Clubbing college with varsity will negatively impact thousands of higher secondary students, says Cotton College Union Society

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 25: Cotton college students have decided to gather support from different stakeholders to oppose Dispur’s decision to merge the century-old college with Cotton College State University.

Jitu Thakuriya, general secretary of Cotton College Union Society (CCUS) told The Sentinel on Saturday that a large number of alumni currently residing in different parts of India and abroad have already contacted the union society and expressed their opinion against the merger plan.

Quoting several such alumni, Thakuriya said the proposed merger would completely destroy the 116-year-old glorious heritage of Cotton College.

“We will try to contact more alumni in the coming days to generate strong public opinion against the merger plan. Cotton College Employees’ Association recently extended its support to the CCUS on the issue. We will also organize discussions on the issue at different platforms including social networking sites to generate opinion. The union has also appealed to teachers to raise their voice against Dispur’s move ,” he said.

The Assam cabinet last month decided to merge the college and university to create a single institution of higher education which would be med as Cotton University.

“Cotton College was set up in 1901 by Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton, the then chief commissioner of Assam, while Dispur set up Cotton College State University in 2011. How could histories of the two institutions be the same?” Thakuriya said.

The CCUS has alleged that the State government took the decision in a hurry without taking major stakeholders of the prestigious college into confidence. It said such a decision will have an adverse impact on poor meritorious students who are currently pursuing undergraduate courses in Cotton College.

It also said the greater interest of students of Assam and other parts of the Northeast would not be affected if the college and the university are allowed to run independently.

According to CCUS, Dispur’s decision to merge the college with the university will compel the UGC to do away with higher secondary classes. In this context, it pointed out that a large number of students from Assam and other parts of the region take admission in higher secondary (Class XI & XII) classes of Cotton College.

“Since Cotton University will have to give more priority to research, there will correspondingly be lesser importance to the teaching and learning aspect. After all, varsities are more concerned with post-graduate and PhD courses. The 3,028 students pursuing undergraduate courses will be ignored after the merger,” Thakuriya said.

The CCUS has already appealed to the Sarbanda Sonowal government to reconsider its decision and refrain from tabling the Bill in the ensuing budget session of Assam Assembly.

The union said if the government goes ahead with its decision, students would be left with no other option but to launch an agitation.

An expert committee constituted by Dispur to chalk out a futuristic plan for Cotton College and Cotton College State University has recommended that the proposed Cotton University will be unitary in ture. The unitary varsity will enjoy full academic autonomy in case of preparing syllabus, conducting examitions, evaluation and declaration of results. It will, however, not be empowered to accord affiliation to other colleges and institutions.

The university will run both under-graduate and post-graduate courses starting from the higher secondary level (Class XI).