Rs 60 crores annual budget fails to raise academic levels
Shimla: In 40 years of its existence, Himachal Pradesh University is anything but a centre of excellence that with an enhanced budget of about Rs 60 crore meets the higher education needs about 3500 on campus students.
Launched on 22 July, 1970, the university celebrated its 40 Foundation Day today and did host chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as the chief guest for the occasion where foundation stones for new blocks were also laid.
Lamenting the falling standards of academics, a senior professor who did not wish to be named said, â€œThings are in an utter mess.â€
â€œConduct of examinations, a core function of a university, is one on which creditability of the institution rests but it is end of July and many of the under and post-graduate results have not been declared,â€™ he said.
The new academic session which should have got underway in June in colleges is yet to start in many classes because students are running from pillar to post for obtaining their results, he added.
With the marks entering and result tabulating process still said to be a manual process, complete computerization of the examination and result declaration system has not been adopted so far, said a university insider.
Being a state funded university, autonomy of institution is reflected by there being more bureaucratic and political representation on its executive council than that of academicians, he said.
Last year, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) had downgraded the university as an educational institution from B+ to B.
Pointing out at inadequate infrastructure, former student council association president Shika Chauhan says that an International Centre of Distance Education and learning (ICEDOL) at Delhi that was planned in the year 2000 became functional only a few months ago. A hostel for tribal students which was planned in 1999 has now become functional and plans for setting up an alternate campus have all but been shelved, she added.
A CAG report had found fault with university spending Rs 1.52 crore in 2000 for buying the leased plot in Delhi and not putting it to timely use as it had rapped the institution for keeping Rs 1.41 crore marked for the tribal hostel idle for a long time since 1999.
Akshay Sood, special secretary finance informed that the government has marked a budget of Rs 50 crore for 2010-11 for Himachal Pradesh University.
Besides grants from the state government, funds are received from university grants commission and those collected through conduct of examinations and sale of prospectus add up another Rs 8-10 crore, said a source in the university administration.
With a on campus strength of about 3500 students, the government is spending upwards of Rs 1.5 lakhs per student yet the institution has failed to become a centre of excellence, said a senior bureaucrat.
Campus politics mixed with violence has marred the institutions reputation time and again and has even resulted in murders taking place.
Like preceding years, the university admissions had opened up last month, with campus violence being witnessed between warring student groups that have affiliation to different political outfits.
It was only with a stern message from the courts a threat from the courts to cancel students elections, should the violence not stop that some peace was restored on the campus.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.