Making Cluster Universities Fully Autonomous, Accountable

The LG administration is taking proactive steps to remove all bottlenecks in the way of growth and development of Cluster Universities. Recent decisions, including transfer of overstaying college teachers by HED, is a step in this direction
Making Cluster Universities Fully Autonomous, Accountable
The infrastructure for the Cluster Universities was supported under the Rashtriya Uchchtar Shikshya Abhiyan (RUSA) of the Union Ministry of Education.Special arrangement

The Cluster Universities in Srinagar and Jammu, established by virtue of ‘The Srinagar and Jammu Cluster Universities Act, 2016’ were conceived as an “innovative and strategic intervention” in higher education arena in the country to provide a stimulating academic and research environment to the aspirants of higher education from Jammu and Kashmir.

The objective was to pool resources from top colleges in Srinagar and Jammu to bring all facilities there under one room for common use by students and researchers.

The infrastructure for the Cluster Universities was supported under the Rashtriya Uchchtar Shikshya Abhiyan (RUSA) of the Union Ministry of Education.

The Cluster University of Srinagar started its operations from academic session 2017 with pooling of resources of five colleges in Srinagar, including Amar Singh College, Sri Pratap College, Government College for Women MA Road, College of Education and Moulana Azad Memorial Degree College Bemina.

While routine education continues to be imparted in these colleges falling under the ambit of Cluster University Srinagar since 2017 after being de-affiliated from the University of Kashmir, several issues continue to impede the growth and progression of the CUS as per the envisaged trajectory since then.

The CUS has struggled to gain complete financial, academic and administrative autonomy from the J&K Higher Education Department (HED). The five colleges pooled for CUS are yet to be allocated as the constituent colleges of CUS, even as the varsity continues to face issues of space paucity and infrastructural deficiencies which could facilitate it to realise its goal of becoming a centre of excellence in academics and research as envisioned in the Cluster Universities Act 2016.

LG’s INTERVENTIONS

Lately, however, much to the satisfaction of CUS administrators and faculty, the J&K HED as well as the authorities of CUS have started to work in tandem to “remove all hurdles, impediments and bottlenecks” that come in the way of progression and growth of CUS vis-à-vis academics, administration, infrastructure development etc to realise the mission and vision with which the CUS was established more than five years ago.

This push comes following the multiple interventions by the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is the Chancellor of all State Universities in J&K UT including the CUS, directing top UT administrators to focus dedicatedly on the growth and progression of twin Cluster Universities in Jammu and Srinagar “under fixed timelines” vis-à-vis removal of all bottlenecks.

“The Honourable LG held several consecutive meetings regarding problems and issues faced by the two Cluster Universities and passed strict directions that these be addressed without fail within the prescribed timelines,” a senior CUS official said.

In a first step following the LG’s directions, the Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council (JKAC), the UT’s top decision-making body headed by LG, approved the proposal of Higher Education Department to transfer 171 vacant posts from Higher Education to the Cluster Universities of Jammu/Srinagar.

“The identified 171 vacant posts (lien-free) of faculty (Gazetted) are transferred to Cluster Universities Jammu and Srinagar for filling up through respective direct recruitment drives. Earlier, under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the Government of Jammu and Kashmir established two Cluster Universities, one each at Srinagar and Jammu by clubbing together 10 prestigious colleges of the regions.

To make these Cluster Universities functional, the Higher Education Department has previously sanctioned 132 posts of different categories in teaching and non-teaching segments in favour of these Cluster Universities,” an official statement said.

The transfer of posts from HED to CUS is considered to be a step in the right direction in order to grant more academic and administrative autonomy to the CUS and CUJ by way of having its own faculty and administrative control over the same.

Also, the UT administration is considering making five colleges polled with CUS as the CUS Constituent Colleges while also exploring the possibility of allocating more land for expansion and infrastructure development of the University, according to official sources.

TRANSFER OF ‘BLUE-EYED’ TEACHERS

Notably, in another step that was well appreciated in academic circles, the Principal Secretary Higher Education Department Rohit Kansal, effected transfer and posting of several Associate/Assistant Professors in Government Degree Colleges, including from colleges like Amar Singh College and S P College which are part of Cluster University Srinagar.

According to officials, many of these Associate/Assistant Professor transferees included few overstaying blue-eyed teachers who allegedly enjoyed the patronage of their principals as well as some top officials in the Higher Education Department who would detain them soon after their transfers were made.

“One teacher in S.P. College was detained twice after being transferred owing to proximity with top officials in HED,” one official in Higher Education Department said, adding that this time however, the HED authorities effected the transfer of these blue-eyed individuals against whom several complaints had been received including those related to irregularities in purchases made in the colleges.

A CUS top official said some of these transferres had made “ordinary teachers uncomfortable” in colleges owing to their influence and proximity with the power corridors.

“Some ordinary teachers would be humiliated and transferred as far as Uri under the influence of these blue-eyed individuals,” he said. Even the CUS top brass is understood to have made recommendations for shifting of these blue-eyed teachers from CUS colleges as part of removal of bottlenecks in its growth.

“You cannot hand over entire control of a reputed college like S.P College to two or three teachers who will make others unconformable and resort to wrongdoings in purchases. Anybody coming in the way of CUS growth will have to face the axe,” a CUS authority said, wishing anonymity.

AUTHORITIES SPEAK

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Vice-Chancellor CUS Prof Qayoom Hussain said all efforts are being made by the LG administration to ensure progression of Cluster Universities on all fronts.

“We want these Universities to be developed as universities of excellence in real sense which would offer new and innovative courses in academics and research. Together with HED we are working to realise this goal,” he said.

Related Stories

No stories found.