GK IMPACT | KU acts over student grievances

Authorities of the Kashmir University have started addressing students’ grievances including restoration of battery-operated vehicles
Kashmir University
Kashmir UniversityFile/ GK

After a report in this newspaper on August 1, 2022, the authorities of the Kashmir University (KU) have started acting on grievances and concerns raised by the students and faculty including discussion on National Education Policy-2020 and restoration of a battery-operated vehicle for specially-abled students.

Barely two days after the report, the Dean Students Welfare (DSW) has written a letter to Dean School of Biological Sciences Prof Zafar A Reshi regarding holding the general student interaction with students from departments falling under the School of Biological Sciences.

Greater Kashmir is in possession of the said letter, which mentions: “The DSW has fixed an interaction with the School of Biological Sciences on 12th August 2022 at 2.30 PM in the Conference Hall of Department of Sociology.

You (Dean School of Biological Sciences) are hereby requested to direct all the departments of your concern (sic) faculty to depute 04 students from each department for the said interaction.”

The GK report had mentioned the students’ concerns that the Department of Students was yet to interact with students of some faculties, including the School of Biological Sciences.

The University authorities have also restored one of the two battery-operated vehicles for convenience of specially-abled students after the GK report.

A top official said one of the two battery-operated vehicles was immediately pressed into service after the Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Neelofar Khan directed that the vehicles be restored.

The two-battery operated vehicles had been provided to the University by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank way back in October 2018.

Also, 100 bicycles were provided to the University in the same month as part of the Bank’s CSR initiative. However, few months after the University touted the initiative as ‘Green Campus Initiative’, students and faculty members said none of the 100 bicycles was seen at the two gates of the University.

For barely two or three months, these bicycles were provided to the students against holding their Identity Cards at the Rumi Gate and Sir Syed Gate to enable them to commute to their respective departments.

The officials however said the so-called Green Initiative was soon shelved after few months after the bicycles were put in some junkyard. “Some bicycles are still missing and God knows who took them. We don’t even know where other bicycles are right now,” they said.

Students had criticized the University authorities for permanently parking the two battery-operated vehicles for specially-abled students and research scholars and for failing to maintain the two vehicles.

“One vehicle is now operational. Another will also be made operational after its battery is procured,” said an official.

Interestingly, soon after the GK report, the University also held discussion with academic counselors on National Education Policy-2020. Students and research scholars had expressed concerns that the Kashmir University was not doing much regarding the NEP-2020 other than holding some ‘futile online lectures’.

The students had demanded that the University should come up with a document on NEP implementation so that students would come to know it.

Students have welcomed action regarding addressing some of their grievances. However, they have demanded that all their grievances should be addressed in a time-bound manner.

“We have already placed our grievances before the Dean Students Welfare during our interaction programme. We want the University authorities to be fully responsive to the students’ concerns,” said a student of the School of Law.

Notably, the University has initiated new reforms of restoring the academic calendar. The Examination Department has also started issuing advance datesheets to students at the start of their academic semester to keep them engaged in studies so that there is no loss of academic time. Degrees of students and their combined marks sheets (transcripts) are now being made available to the students at their respective degree colleges.

The VC has also assured that state-of-art student helpdesk will be created so that students visiting the Examination Section are facilitated vis-à-vis redressal of their grievances.

The VC Prof Neelofar Khan has promised to address students’ grievances in a phased manner. She has already stated that she would be taking pro-student welfare measures because students are the primary stakeholders in the University.

If the University authorities are able to address concerns raised by students and faculty members in a time-bound manner, it will earn them a lot of goodwill. The VC has already stated in the first month of her VCship that every authority in the University is accountable to the public for what is happening in the University.

Since the University belongs to the public, its authorities have to be conscious of the concerns of students and faculty members to minimize academic disruptions. Initiating action on students’ grievances is therefore a welcome step.

The concerns of faculty members must be addressed with the same zeal.

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