TODAY -

Need for improvement of Higher Education sector in Manipur

Dr Elangbam Girani Singh *

Director of Education (University and Higher Education) Building in Imphal ; Photo taken sometime in March 2013
Director of Education (University and Higher Education) Building in Imphal ; Photo taken sometime in March 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Higher Education has to go hand in hand with research and innovative ideas with the aims of transformation, revolution in order to make a dynamic change in higher education all India-wide. It is a mandatory. Higher education and research in the country is indeed an innovative approach in the right direction.

Assessment and accreditation are essential for determining quality of academic assurance in higher education the world-over. It is true that today India is developing as an economic powerhouse powered by a resolution in the knowledge sector. It is also true that knowledge economy cannot be treated as synonymous with information economy or information society.

Our universities and colleges are places where ideas germinate; where application grow out of ideas and where innovation flourishes in an atmosphere of intellectual challenge and perspectives. In this context of Manipur, we need to establish a State university which imparts the most modern and market-oriented subjects, which are not opened in the Manipur University.

The existing college libraries need modernisation with internet connectivity, subscription to e-books and e-journals. All of us know and aware that State Council of Higher Education is envisaged for all the States under the UGC guidelines. In the absence of this Council, there has been a poor co-ordination between the Higher Education Department and the Manipur University on the one hand and between the Manipur University and the affiliated colleges on the other.

As such, a strong need has arisen for the establishment of a Manipur State Council for Higher Education to plan, monitor and co-ordinate the functioning of the institutions of higher education in the State. Moreover, it is a prerequisite for availing the facilities being provided to over colleges under the much talked about Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). So, the State Council of Higher Education was established on 28th October, 2013 with Hon’ble Education Minister M Okendro in the chair.

The most unfortunate situation pertaining to Higher Education sector of the State is the problem of the ill-fated low paid lecturers (part-time lecturers) in our government colleges. It is learn that the State government appointed 635 part-time lecturers in the Government colleges during the period from 1990 to 1999.

During this period, there was complete ban on ad-hoc appointment and creation of new posts and intermittent ban on regular appointments. Though the terminology used is part-time but in reality the work-load assigned is same to a regular Assistant/Associate professor. They are allowed to participate in the UGC-sponsored refresher and orientation courses conducted in and outside the State and thus they have acquired a lot of up-to-date knowledge in addition to teaching experiences.

They are also used in confidential works of various examinations conducted by the Council of Higher Secondary Education and the Manipur University as inspection team members, invigilators, examiners, etc. Thus, they have been discharging various assignments like the regular Assistant/Associate professors. In some Government colleges, they are serving as the head of the department of the particular subjects.

In fact, part-time lecturers have become part and parcel of higher education in the State. Actually, they are the asset of the higher education sector. They have been discharging their duties since the last twp or more decades without receiving a manageable amount for maintaining their families. Of late, it is learnt that they have been paid Rs 21,000 (for those who fulfil UGC RRs) and Rs 12,600 (for those who do not fulfil UGC RRs). Still there future is in the DARK.

Such unwanted situation has further darkened their academic pursuits and abilities. This is a serious human problem. It is pertinent to mention here that all of them have crossed the upper age limit for applying any kind of job or post. As such, where would they struggle for their future?

Here, it may be kindly recalled that the State Government on consideration of the long-suffered service conditions and contributions of the part-time lecturers in the field of higher education of the State, regularised 107 part-time lecturers in 2000 under a State policy. The Government should consider closing the chapter of the unfortunate and ill-fated conditions of the existing part-time lecturers once and for all.

We are aware that the State Government would face financial problem in implementing the above mentioned into realities. However, its financial assistance will manage from the RUSA scheme. This scheme is Centrally-sponsored for colleges and universities for the transformation of higher education. The scheme has enough funding; however, it is based on input and output target with capacity building and planning support. So, the planning is decided to provide Rs 25,000 crore under the scheme during the 12th plan period, 2012-2017.

But no State has approached the Centre with any proposal to avail the funds under the Rs 25,000 crore RUSA, a scheme for upgrading higher education infrastructure and faculty position. There should not be more than 15 percent post vacancy in the faculty, which is also one of the pre-requisite conditions of this scheme. However, there are more than 25 percent post vacancies still lying in the Government schools.

The scheme is totally determined on the need-base and quality performance. In older to fulfil the pre-requisite of RUSA, the post vacancy should be fill up as soon as possible for receiving RUSA funding as well as for closing the chapter of low-paid lecturers so that the aim of transforming higher education in the State could be realised sooner than later.


* Dr Elangbam Girani Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, Manipur College
This article was posted on January 26, 2014.


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