A university without a placement cell

Greater Kashmir

Inexperienced faculty,defunct placement cell worries IUST students

Even as the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Awantipora runs as many as 13 professional courses in different disciplines, its placement cell, without a full-time placement officer, has been defunct for the past one year. In the absence of a well-managed placement cell, the students pursuing various courses in the varsity are left to fend for themselves at the time of their employment. 
Few months ago the University Vice Chancellor, Prof AR Trag, disbanded the Central Placement Cell in the University in an Annual Faculty Meeting and asked the departments to take care of the job placements. “This is an unfortunate decision as no dedicated official has been deputed for this purpose in any of the departments,” says an official from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
He says that the placement cell should be headed by some competent person, having liaison with government departments, public sector and private sector undertakings so as to arrange jobs for the outgoing students. However, the students say the placement cell in IUST has always been run by temporary officials.
Some students cite lack of coordination among various departments and the cell, as well as general apathy of teachers towards such activities, for the present state of affairs. The university website claims that around “400 students were registered in the job fair early this year,” and after facing written tests, group discussions and interviews, “27 students among them were offered jobs and 37 others are expected to be offered jobs.”
However, a group of MBA students told Greater Kashmir that the companies and organizations invited by the University for Campus Placements offered them subordinate job offers with less than 10K package. “In every Campus Recruitment University mostly invites Banks and Insurance Companies for job placements to which even a graduate can apply. What is the fun of our degrees then?” questions Shoeb Showkat, an outgoing MBA student. According to the students the faculty keeps on changing in every academic session and the newly appointed faculty members take time to adjust in the departments. And in this process precious time of students is wasted.
“Mostly temporary faculty members teach crucial subjects. They come here to gain experience without having any relevant experience in the subject assigned,” says Arif, a student from MBA department. For instance, he says, a teacher trained in Marketing teaches Human Resource Development. Similarly, he adds, a Tourism graduate takes care of Strategic Management.
The students of Journalism Department complain that the popular Community cum Campus Radio Program has also become casualty of faculty ‘inexperience’ and ‘mismanagement’ after an agreement signed with the Panos South Asia ended earlier this year. The students say the journalism department also lacks experienced faculty for teaching Broadcast Journalism which hampers the training of the students who aspire to become broadcast journalists in the professional field.
Students of Food Technology Department say that every year IUST keeps introducing new professional courses. But barring a few departments like Department of Engineering and Technology where placements do take place, the students say other departments are not able to avail training facilities. They also complain that the university has failed to give them suitable field training in various industrial organizations that is essential for their job prospects.
According to President of Students Union in Islamic University (SUIU), Imran Pandit, “Placement cell is not that effective as there is lack of coordination among various departments as the Department representatives have failed in their duties.” Presently, the cell is without permanent office and staff. “The temporary staff always remain absent during the peak time of placements in the campus. The staff also doesn’t keep record of students,” says a Professor of the varsity. The university is in need of a placement cell with a fulltime placement officer and some dedicated clerical staff.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof A R Trag says the university had provided several opportunities to the students during the job fair. “But it is up to companies what they offer and who they will choose,” he says. Prof Trag says that many students were selected by companies but most of the students were reluctant to join them. “We appeal students to the avail the benefits of job fairs and try to stick to the job even if it is less paid as it will give them experience and exposure,” he says. About the disbanding of the Central Placement Cell, he adds, “We have not disbanded the cell but we have asked department to coordinate with the placement cell. Every department has an official meant for the job.” However, he refused to comment on the appointment of a fulltime placement officer.     
Prof Trag admits that there is room for improvement in the infrastructure development of the university. “We try to provide maximum facilities to the students with well qualified teachers,” he says. “Still, if students have any grievance or face any kind of deficiency, they should convey it to me directly.”