Sunday, January 18, 2015

Letter to CM: No regular principal in any of the Government Autonomous Colleges in Odisha for more than a decade

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
It is very disappointing to learn that four important Govt. Autonomous Colleges in Odisha - Rama Devi Women’s College at Bhubaneswar, Gangadhar Meher College at Sambalpur, SCS College in Puri and Government Autonomous College at Bhawanipatna- will not enjoy the College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) status benefits for a period of five years now from UGC.

These four institutions are top higher educational institutions in their respective regions in Odisha. G M College Sambalpur and Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna were identified as CPE in 2004-05 and extended upto end of 11th Plan period, whereas R D Women’s College Bhubaneswar and SCS College Puri got the CPE status in 2009-10.

The failure of these colleges in implementing UGC norms is not solely due to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade rather than failure of Odisha state Government to address serious concerns of all the Government Autonomous Colleges in the state.

Although state Government’s Higher Education Task force has recommended filling up all the vacant lecture posts in Government colleges in priority basis, this has not yet been met by the state Government in past five years, except partly meeting the teaching need with contractual instructors. When contractual instructors do 60-90 % of the teaching jobs- for example Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna has less than 20 % regular teaching faculties- in such case how could a college having CPE status improve research qualities and overall infrastructure development to provide center of excellence in higher education nationally that was the key motivation for CPE status? 

Most importantly none of the Government Autonomous Colleges in Odisha has any regular Principal to run an institution since more than a decade. Presently, temporary Principal in charge heads all the Government Autonomous Colleges in the state. This makes implementation of various schemes slow and daily administration poorer. Could we imagine a chief minister in charge to run the state for a decade? All these colleges deserve regular Principals to look after and take responsibility for the growth of such institutions.

Perhaps, with recent proposal by state Government to upgrade R. D. Women’s College at Bhubaneswar, Khallikote College at Berhampur and G. M. College at Sambalpur to Universities would not affect financially much to these colleges, however, Autonomous Colleges likeSCS College Puri, Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna, etc. will suffer most due to lack of these CPE funding.

Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna was among the very few college, which received national recognition as CPE status in the first phase by UGC despite being located in one of the most backward and poverty zone in India. Such UGC funding are crucial for overall growth of such an institution in a backward pocket where there is no state Universities (unlike Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore and Barapada where there are alternative state Universities), thus, state Government should give first priority to such institution.

I urge the state Government to address key weakness of all the Government Autonomous Colleges by appointing regular Principals, professors, readers and lecturers urgently.

Thank you and best regards

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