Education Minister's directives to college principals evoke mixed response
TINSUKIA, June 11: State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s directives to the college Principals at a meeting held recently at Guwahati evoked mixed reactions among the college fraternity. While few viewed that some colleges deserve to be tamed, many, however, opined that the minister expressed his views without the knowledge of ground realities that loom large in most of the provincialized colleges.
Since 1992, the government has not provided a single additiol post to any college, albeit clandestinely removed or abolished the vacant posts in favour of other colleges, leaving many departments in the lurch, which resulted in acute shortage of faculties. News is also doing the rounds that the government is contemplating to curtail retired posts from the colleges having enrolment less than 500 in that subject, further the ACTA had been persistently demanding de-linking higher secondary classes from the colleges, which the education department has failed so far. While the AHSEC insists on adhering to its academic calendar, the universities, on the other hand, have their own semester calendar for undergraduate courses. Classes are disrupted for months together during peak examition sessions. Students of HS in particular are affected the most.
The minister in his deliberation asked the Principals to put efforts for better results. According to a retired Vice-Principal of a provincialized college, the colleges usually never fail in their endeavour and pursuit but on the contrary, the colleges cannot achieve desired expectations due to several factors, primarily being the admission criteria. He pointed out that during admission, colleges are extremely pressurized to increase number of seats to accommodate students who are denied seats in merit lists. Besides various student and youth organizations, agents of local political leaders, MLAs, MPs, to the extent of district administration, including DC do not lag behind in this exercise without even realizsing the fate of these students, majority of who fail in the fil examition bringing down the pass percentage drastically. Can the education department or the minister stop such interference in the admission process in order to create a healthy academic atmosphere conducive for better results? Has the department ever asked the colleges to admit students according their actual capacity keeping in view student-teacher ratio?
In its latest move, the government is in the process to exempt admission fees for poor students. It is a laudable step, opined a source but the government must also ensure that the beneficiaries are genuinely poor. According to a source, vast majority of claimants that produce eligibility documents like BPL card, income certificate from SDC, gaon panchayat or authorized department are not genuine beneficiaries, they either procure the certificate by false claim or through political agent. In Tinsukia district, majority of parents whose wards claim to be poor by virtue of their professiol background like agricultural farmer, cultivator are actually small tea growers and contractors while genuine poor students move pillar to post for fincial support. To contain this mece, the source said, the government must evolve a mechanism to identify actual beneficiary else a huge amount to the tune of crores of rupees will be lost from the exchequer. So also colleges will loss vital revenue otherwise utilized by the colleges for academic and developmental purposes.