Protest against reduced grants for St Bede’s and other Colleges

Shimla: Over 2,000 students of various colleges and Himachal Pradesh University alongwith their parents held a protest demonstration demanding the government to restore full grants to the state’s four private colleges including the country’s oldest all-woman college, St. Bede’s College, Shimla, as they were threatened with closure because of financial distress. The DAV colleges at Kangra and Kotkhai and Maharaja Lakshmi Sen Memorial College at Sundernagar are the other colleges to which government was giving 95 percent grant-in-aid. Now it is being distributed among 20 colleges.

Shika Chauhan, HPU SCA president after meeting chief minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal told media persons, “the chief minister assured a delegation of protesters that the matter of grants to private colleges would be reconsidered.” He passed directions to the effect before us, said Chauhan.

Earlier in the day, students from St Bede’s College, students from MLSM college Sudnernagar, DAV College Kangra and delegations from Rajkiya Kannya Mahavidyalya college Shimla, Evening College, Government Boy’s College Sanjauli and HP University participated in the protest march.

Ex-Bedians were also part of the protest march. Trauna Mishra, president of Sparsh NGO and an ex-Bedian who was part of the protest march said, the government should restore 95 percent grant to the private colleges that were running on the old pattern of grants handed out by the government.

An heritage institution should not be allowed to die for want of funds, said Mishra.

“We have knocked the doors of the government, urging them not to reduce our grant from 95% percent, otherwise we will be left with no choice but to close down the college,” says Molly Abraham, principal St Bede’s.

The Delhi Provincial, under whose jurisdiction the college falls has already asked them to make plans to close the college, she revealed.

(Photos by: Amit Kanwar)

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  1. says: Sanchayita Mukerji Lahiri

    Himachal is my home state,blessed with glowing gifts by nature.However no state can prosper unless their residents receive the gift of education.St Bedes has been doing this for over a century.Her students are spread all over Himachal,India and even across the world.Her students do not only receive knowledge from guide books but her teachers teach the students to ask questions & think for themselves.She gently takes unsure school children and when they graduate they are confident women ready to take on the world.
    Tell me the name of even one other college in Himachal which has over the years earned a reputation as being one of India’s top educational institution.Please do not let it die away..Thank You
    Sanchayita Mukerji Lahiri

  2. says: S Kumar

    The challenge in front of the Government is to uniformly provide funding across all sectors and all regions. In this regard, these private colleges should look forward to generate their own resources and simultaneously Govt funding should be reduced in a phased manner. A sudden withdrawal of Govt funding would deteriorate the education quality in these good colleges and hence we will loose these institutes of good repute.
    Therefore both parties should sit down and negotiate for finding an amicable solution. But the need of the hour is look out for other resources to generate funding for running these centers of education which are providing quality education.

  3. I agree with S. Kumar to great extent. When these colleges started, overall economic situation of Himachal was one of the `poorest state’. Now Himachal is 4th in GDP in India which means there is lot of money in the pockets of `people’ and as such whether using taxpayers money to educate the children of `rich’ is mute question.
    Himachalis are also very keen to spend money on `educating’ their children and this can be proved by number of private schools that are opening in villages/tehsils and larrge number of children are attending these schools (don’t ask quality- but the fact is that these schools charge anywhere from Rs 50 to 200/- per month per child and parents are paying). So one has to take into consideration the economic reality. Emotionally we are all attached to our `colleges’ but is that a reason enough to spend taxpayers money? Can’t we use this money to bring quality education and health services to the interior areas?

    1. says: Tanya

      Being an ex bedean , it pains me that the grant in aid has been reduced to 50% of the total staff sanctioned aid. There is no parallel to the quality of higher education to the one provided by Bedes. The Government must consider this serious issue keeping its eyes open to the repurcussions it could have..if the college is left financially paralyzed. I sincerely hope something will be done abt it asap.

    2. says: tanya kashyap

      Mr Subhash & Mr Kumar, you seem to be missing the point that girls from all sections of the society whether rich or poor have studied in St Bedes. The fee structure may not be abysymally low but is definitely not unaffordable. Please can we stop getting prejudiced by the fact that its an elite institution with doors open to a few. It is the right of a minority institution to get grant in aid from the State Government whatever be the economic capacity of the State. St Bedes College has no parrallel as far as higher education is concerned. I have studied in Bede’s and i can assure you I feel very patriotic feelings for my country. Can we grow up.. Education has already suffered a lot for centuries now in India, increasing privatization has lead to a market driven society.. We need to secure standards of education for the generations to come..not just for the purpose of being literate enough to be able to read and write..but for the higher moral purpose of contributing to our country..and this cant be done if we dont have Institutions which do not compromise on exellence in quality of education. I sincereloy hope something is done about the reduced grant in aid and restore it to the 95% grant in aid..

  4. says: Vishal

    ” 95 percent grant to the private colleges “. That is unheard of for a private institution at least where sanity still exists. That is like me controlling 95 percent shares of a company and having no right to look at the balance sheets. The proposal is too spread that “subsidy” among 20 colleges and that seems very reasonable. The state has limited resources and has to do good with what little it has.Education is better when there are several pockets of excellence, rather than a few ( or one )

    A subsidy (also known as a subvention) is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Note “sector” not a single institution. They are a form of protectionism that may make the receiver artificially competitive and a disincentive for any new center of excellence to be born and flourish. Yes the said college is a noted college, yet unlike IITs or IIMs, the state and thus the tax payer does not have a stake in it. And emotions aside, I as a tax payer can hardly be asked to subsidize education in a private institution whose doors are wide shut ( if you get my gist ).

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