New colleges in Srinagar without basic facilities

Students complain of space crunch at GDCs Alochi Bagh, Hyderpora
Representational Pic
Representational PicFile/ GK

Srinagar, Sept 18: The newly established Government Degree Colleges  (GDCs) in the summer capital are marred with dearth of accommodation which has apparently defeated the purpose of establishment of these new institutions.

These colleges have not come up to the expectations of students and teachers given the infrastructural gaps therein.

The move has raised questions and more problems which do not seem to end to enable young students to derive the maximum out of these "new" institutions.

Notably, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has been over the years claiming to be focussing on higher education with renewed vigour to boost the performance of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) across the Union Territory.

In the past few years, the J&K administration has opened several new colleges in a bid  to realise these objectives.

However, while it has been fairly successful at some places in this endeavour, it has by and large been unable to realise these objectives in their entirety for a host of reasons.

Government Degree College (GDC) Hyderpora is a case in point. The college started its academic session last year with enrolment of over 100 students. The college is functioning from three prefab huts making it difficult to accommodate the students.

With the commencement of new academic sessions in HEIs, the enrollment of the colleges has increased to more than 400. However, the college faculty is facing an acute shortage of classrooms to accommodate the students in one go.

However, to overcome the problem, the Principal of the College has come up with a decision to accommodate the students in two shifts.

According to the College authorities, the first semester students will attend classes from 10am to 2pm while the students of 3rd semester have been asked to attend their classes from 2pm to 4pm.

The move has left the students furious who said the College authorities and the government were playing with the career of the students.

"This seems illogical to attend the classes from 2pm to 4pm. The college should manage additional classrooms and accommodate all the students in college simultaneously," said a 3rd semester student of the college.

The 3rd semester students have shown their resentment to the decision of the college administration to accommodate students  in two shifts.

"It makes no sense to attend college for two hours," the students said.

Meanwhile the principal of the College, Ghulam Jeelani Qureshi defended the college decision saying that the institution has availability of the teachers and the subject opted by the students.

"The students are unnecessarily making an issue out of it. What is wrong f they will attend college from 2pm to 4pm," he said.

He however acknowledged that the college had dearth of accommodation which led to bifurcate the students in two groups.

"We have taken up the matter with higher ups regarding the shortage of accommodation," he said.GDC Aloochi Bagh, presently operating from a make-shift arrangement in building of Nursing College at Bagh-i-Dilawar Khan is also dearth of accommodation and lack of infrastructure. The government has identified 34 kanals of land for the construction of permanent campus of the College at Allochi Bagh.

Meanwhile, the Principal of the College has written to the Principal Secretary HED to highlight the plight of the students.

"Owing to non-availability of a permanent campus or any adequate rented building space at Allochi Bagh, this College was temporarily shifted to a few available rooms in the premises of erstwhile GDC Bagh-e-Dilawar Khan where Government Nursing College is mainly functioning," the letter reads.

The Principal has said that the students and the staff are facing "a lot of problems" due to the non-availability of facilities for washrooms, shortage of classrooms, Laboratories, equipment and other infrastructure.

"The situation is quite depressing and inhuman and this is indeed a big challenge to set the things on rails," the letter reads.

Notably the College is running Science, Arts, Commerce streams with Botany, Chemistry, Sociology, Urdu and Commerce as major subjects in Semester 1st Under NEP-2020.

There are approximately 300 students enrolled in the college in various semesters which include 220 students in Ist semester under NEP-2020.

"Even when the student strength is small, it still takes a classroom for a few students of a particular subject. It is not possible to conduct classes in the above-mentioned semesters in the available four classrooms," the letter reads.

The principal of the college has said that the Cluster University Srinagar (CUS) should not have approved the science subjects for this College. Notably, GDC Hyderpora and GDC Aloochi Bagh are affiliated with CUS.

Vice Chancellor CUS, Prof. Qayyum Hussain when contacted said the University has no administrative control on these colleges.

"We will only conduct the exams of the students enrolled in these colleges," he said. Director Colleges J&K, Prof Yasmeen Ashai was not available for her comments on the issue, despite repeated attempts.

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