Thursday, 9 May 2013

Odisha Government stonewalls Berhampur varsity’s reforms attempt By Sisir Panigrahy

The State Government’s claim to make Odisha an ideal destination of education in the country sounds hollow if one goes by the case of Berhampur University whose bid to open new departments fell flat for the former’s stoic silence. Though the funds sanctioned by University Grants Commission (UGC) for the purpose have returned, the Government continues to be in a stupor.

According to sources, the UGC had approved the university’s proposal to start post-graduate courses in Geophysics, Pharmacy, Microbiology, Hindi and Education during 11th Plan period.
The UGC had also sanctioned funds for the courses. But, the courses could not be started as the State Government did not extend its approval by the end of 11th Plan period in March 2012.
As per the rules, the UGC provides funds for these new departments for a period of three years and after that the State Government takes the responsibility of other requirements like staff and infrastructure. Despite regular correspondence of the university authorities with Higher Education Department for four years, there was no response from the State Government.
As a result, not only the aspirants of higher studies in these subjects are deprived of the benefit, the university has also lost the UGC funds sanctioned for starting the courses. “We are trying to pursue the matter with the State Government to do the needful,” said BP Ratha, Registrar of the University.
In the absence of regular courses in these subjects, students of the area are forced to take up self-financing courses in some of the subjects by paying huge fees elsewhere. The students alleged that due to apathetic attitude of the State Government, no new department has been opened in Berhampur University in the last two decades. Recently, the university had opened just one pharmacy department in self-financing mode.
On the other hand, university sources alleged that Government releases just ` 30 crore annually to meet the salary expenses of faculty and other staff. “After meeting these expenses, hardly any fund is left to enable the University to take up reform works like opening new courses or building new infrastructure,” said an official.
Meanwhile, former deputy speaker Ram Chandra Panda in a letter to the Government has urged it to look into the matter and pursue it with the UGC again. Source: New Indian Express 

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