By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 14: Assam has been witnessing a fast reversal in student dropout trend. Over the years student dropout rate has been maximum at the primary stage of education, but for the past few years there has been large-scale dropout in higher education. And the reason behind this is failure on the part of the government to provide them seats and other educatiol facilities.
This is what the Students' Federation of India (SFI) has observed, and appealed to the government to nip the unhealthy trend in the bud before the situation goes out of control.
Citing the number of successful candidates this year as the immediate instance, the SFI said: "While 2,47,682 students passed High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and Assam High Madrassa (AHM) examitions, 2,04,889 students passed HS examitions in the State this year. Going by this rate around 1 lakh students may not get admission in higher secondary courses due to paucity of seats in the existing colleges and schools."
The situation in the degree courses in the State is no different. According to the students' body, there are around 70,000 UGC-approved seats in the degree colleges in the State. Though a number of students will turally be absorbed in engineering, medical and other courses, a large number of students are likely to be deprived of seats in the existing colleges in the state. Since there is literally no opportunity for vocatiol courses in the State, the number of dropout in higher education seems to be very big this time around.
Another unhealthy trend that irks the students' body is that the State Government has little grip over the colleges in hiking cumulative fees being charged from students at the time of admission. In the absence of any government control, various fees are hiked by the college authorities at their own whims. According to the students' body, B Barooah College, Guwahati has hiked its cumulative admission fees by Rs 550 this year. The college has hiked its admission fees in B.Sc. by Rs 700 and Rs 460 in B.A. Likewise, while Handique Girls' College, Guwahati, according to the SFI, has hiked its various fees by Rs 100 in all streams and classes, Cotton College, Guwahati has hiked its admission fees by Rs 200 for B.A. and Rs 141 for B.Sc. It has hiked its admission fees in HS for all streams by Rs 261, the students' body said.
The situation elsewhere in the State is no different. While DHSK College under Dibrugarh University has hiked its cumulative admission fees by Rs 585 in B.Sc., JB College under the university in Jorhat has hiked it by Rs 110 in all classes and streams, the students' body said.
According to the students' body, while Cachar College under Assam University has hiked its cumulative admission fees at degree level by Rs 400, Silchar Women College has hiked it by Rs 1,000 and Guru Charan College at Silchar by Rs 800 in all streams. The government, according to the students' body, fixes only admission fee and tuition fee at minimal rates, but the college authorities go the extra mile to add a number of other charges and make the cumulative amount an inflated one and make the guardians of students feel the pinch.
What irks the students' body the most is that the colleges never get equipped with full-fledged teaching and non-teaching staff before enrollment of students and start of classes. Most of the colleges, according to the students' body, make do with guest faculties, and that has its cascading effect on the quality of education being imparted to the students.
Citing examples, the students' body said, B Barooah College, Guwahati has six posts of faculties vacant. Surprisingly the college, according to the SFI, has as many as 37 guest faculties. The Political Science Department of Handique Girls' College, Guwahati has only three permanent teachers and as many guest faculties and one vacant post, the students' body said, and added that Cotton College has as many as 37 vacancies of teacher posts.