Srinagar, June 3: The authorities at the Cluster University Srinagar (CUS) have closed down a two decade old Bachelor’s programme in Computer Applications (BCA) at the prestigious Amar Singh (AS) College-constituent college of the CUS.
The decision comes at a time when the J&K government’s Higher Education Department (HED) is trumpeting to have undertaken up-skilling of undergraduate students enrolled at the twin Cluster Universities in Srinagar and Jammu.
The bizarre move has left aspirants in a quandary even as the associated infrastructure at the prestigious College has also been rendered virtually defunct, a top official informed Greater Kashmir.
Notably, the professional BCA programme was started at the Amar Singh College in the 2000 with the College developing a dedicated Computer Sciences block for teaching the course besides the high end laboratory and faculty for the students.
Notably, a team from NAAC is scheduled to visit the AS College for inspection in near future and winding up a decade old course at the college may have a negative impact on its ranking.
“After the college came under the purview of CUS Srinagar in 2017, it was expected that the Higher Education Department would upscale the BCA course by starting a Master’s programme at Amar Singh College or undertake an integrated BCA/MCA programme there like it did in many other subjects,” the official said.
However, in an apparent degradation, the department has altogether wound up the BCA programme from the academic session 2021. As per the admission notification issued by the Cluster University Srinagar, the Integrated, Honors and Professional programmes in Computer Applications will be offered only at Women’s College, M A Road Srinagar.
“The basic reason behind taking this illogical decision is that the higher ups in the HED are arguing that the School of Engineering at MA Road College is best equipped to offer the course. This has put students in a quandary who have nowhere to go other than MA Road,” the official said.
The official further informed that there was a proposal that integrated BCA-MCA will be started at both Womens’ College and Amar Singh for females and males respectively and was accepted in principle.
“Unfortunately, the university has closed it altogether at Amar Singh College,” the official said.
The official said that offering the programme at both the colleges could have rationalized the programme and instead of upgrading the programme to integrated course, the HED and CUS have degraded the college by closing the course in one of the oldest colleges.
“They are simply demeaning the course and the college,” he said.
This newspaper has learnt that the higher ups have justified the decision by saying that the AS College was meant for liberal arts and humanities and not computer applications.
“But the same department has established a full-fledged block for computer sciences and laboratories besides recruiting highly qualified teaching faculty for the students as well. Now, the whole infrastructure has been rendered defunct,” the official said.
The decision to wind up the BCA course at AS College has gone against the ethos of the National Education Policy (NEP) which mandates diversification of courses to offer skilled programmes.
“The HED in J&K is winding up the courses already offered in the colleges. SP College has a school of sciences but it also offers admission in information technology at the college. Other courses are running at AS College but they have singled out the BCA programme only,” the official said.
Principal AS College Prof. Bashir Ahmad Rather when contacted said it was a policy decision to shift honours courses to the colleges which are already offering admission in integrated courses in the same subject.
“BCA is an honors course and was shifted to Womens College because they offer admission in a 5-year integrated programme of the course,” he said.
He further added that he personally met VC CUS and informed him about the massive infrastructure established for the course at the AS College over the years.
“I conveyed to him that the BCA course should continue at AS College for Boys while Girls can be enrolled at Women’s College MA road. I am already at it,” he said.