Imagining Dhanamanjuri college state University

Prof E. Bijoykumar *

Building of D.M. College Of Science, Imphal in April 2012t
D.M. College Of Science, Imphal in April 2012 :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam

A state university in Manipur, which has been growing in our imagination since 2005 after the conversion of Manipur University into a central university, is going to be a reality. RUSA will be providing lots of additional funds for upgrading higher education and raising the enrolment ratio. Like any other central fund. How much we benefit also depends on how realistic and reasonable our proposals are. A university emerging out of the four DM Colleges will definitely pass all criteria for the viability and appropriateness of a new university.

Since the starting of the evening PG classes in DM College, higher education in Manipur particularly at the PG level has grown by leaps and bounds. Among the new to- be established departments are the department of Teachers training offering B.ED and M.Ed. and department for strategic analysis. The university had recommended the opening of LL.M. and Fine Arts during the XII plan.

But sometimes certain priorities and compulsions at the HRD level make many things to happen as in the case for teacher education and strategic analysis. During the last few years enrolment in our colleges has risen fast and the admission rush is for everyone to see. In Manipur University for the recently opened Sociology department we had nearly three hundred applicants for 30 seats.

In MCA, life sciences the story is similar. The unfortunate part of the story is our compulsion to reject so many students, most of whom may not go anywhere due to economic factors. The number of seats in Manipur University increased recently due to the reservation for OBCs and it is not likely to increase much in most of the departments. When we talk about raising the enrolment ratio in colleges, we cannot ignore the creation of more seats at PG level. Today we need to have degrees much higher than BA.

Can the existing faculties take up PG teaching? How prepared are they? Their preparedness has to be measured in terms of higher qualifications and academic work. DCSU manned by the existing staff in various departments may be off the track. A Ph.D. degree is highly desirable at such levels to sustain the confidence of the students. They may be retained if integrated five year courses are conducted.

Here also there has to be some redeployment of college lecturers. Some appropriately qualified teachers have to bring from other government colleges to man the last two years. University teaching involves research and the aptitude of teachers as shown by their work also is an important factor in the choice of appropriately qualified teacher. Where is the research aptitude for someone who did his Ph.D. twenty years ago and who has been only 'teaching'?

Even though teachers work is now assessed by the IQAC in the university and colleges, such exercise is yet to be taken seriously in the colleges.

Recently we supplied our regulations which are also available in our university website to the Directorate of Higher education. Our Manipur University regulations have been finalised keeping the overall structure provided by UGC in tact. Some people feel that it is too rigorous for us. We have run this for about two years and there may arise the need for revision.

It creates problems for the university also because we do not get qualified applicants for many posts. College lectures have to understand how API is calculated in Manipur University. This is so because there is university to university variation .Now there is a very serious effort to score mark. This trend has to be encouraged despite the usual criticism.

This is an opportunity to salvage our higher education. The education minister should try to usher in quality education by stressing on the quality parameters spelt out by NAAC. The establishment of a state university will break the monopoly of Manipur University and we expect lots of competition to get students.

Not only PG students but the potential Ph.D. scholars also will benefit out of this competition. Research activities will grow. Thus it is a win-win situation. But one should not ignore the issue of quality of faculty members. Establishing a university and running it is very different from a college.

Only the best talents should be accommodated in the state university and this approach will unleash powerful forces of competition among the teachers. The less political interference in the matter, the better it will be. All the funding bodies for research are looking for our researchers. ICSSR routinely says it wants more research proposals from the NER because the earmarked amount remains unutilised.

The incentive of rising to full professorship will be a wonderful incentive for college teachers who as of now have to retire. Thus the establishment of a state university is an opportunity for introducing some much needed changes in higher education system. Thus when we establish the DCSU there are some expected essential sacrifices on the part of the teachers.

Cotton College State University was created via an Act of the Government of Assam with Cotton College as a constituent College of this new University. The vision of this new University is to be a world-class one, excelling in both teaching and research, developing knowledge and skills with an emphasis on this region, providing broad-based education to students to take on the challenges of tomorrow via modern curricula, learning and assessment methods, upholding the highest ethical standards, and providing a clean, efficient and transparent administration. It has been functioning since 2011.

We look forward to the incorporation of these lofty ideals both in spirit and practice DCSU.

* Prof E. Bijoykumar wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on October 27, 2013.

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