Himachal government has opened new degree colleges across the state in abundance for the benefit of students residing in far flung areas. MLAs and people of the respective areas are also feeling elated over getting degree college as the government has opened 38 new institutes during past three years. However, this has now become more of challenge rather than a facility as these colleges face shortage of staff and infrastructural facilities with some of them being run in school buildings. Nearly 550 posts are vacant in old and new colleges and staff from old colleges have been shifted to new institutes. As a result, quality of education drops due to all these shortcomings. Coupled with this, implementation of Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan in the state has further added to the woes of students and teachers. Academic standards too have dropped after implementation of this system that was aimed to improve quality of education.
1.10 Lakh Students
The number of students in 107 government degree colleges and two private colleges in the state is more than 1.10 lakh.
Admission in 2016-17
Solan : 7303
Sirmaur : 6169
Shimla : 17550
Mandi : 15227
Bilaspur : 6081
Chamba : 4436
Una : 8525
Kangra : 27 656
Hamirpur : 9543
Kullu : 6971
Kinnaur : 450
Lahaul & Spiti : 85
Himachal has become the first state in the country to implement Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) and Himachal Pradesh University and Education Department taking credit for it. However, implementation of this system has certainly downgraded the quality of education. RUSA was implemented in the state for improvement in education and examinations but it has done nothing in both these fields. Benefit of RUSA has been restricted only to the Central financial assistance available to educational institutes. The HPU and Education Department had reintroduced RUSA system from 2016-17 academic session as per University Grants Commission norms for improvement in the system. Even then, objective to improve educational quality has not been achieved so far. Neither the colleges have the requisite staff nor students are getting facilities under this system.
The government had introduced RUSA system to improve educational standards but according to students, the problems have increased after implementation of this system. It is evident from the fact that 90% students failed in examination held for first semester of 2016-17 academic session. It is an alarming situation that reflects towards dropping quality of educational standards. Later the university had effected improvement in norms to enhance pass percentage.
No Faculty For Hobby Courses
Students get a chance to study many hobby courses under RUSA system but the problem is that they are not getting benefit of it as are not available to teach hobby courses. Earlier percentage of marks achieved by students under annual system reflected their quality but it is difficult to asses quality of education through grading in RUSA system. There has not been any improvement in declaration of examination result even as one batch under RUSA has passed out. The university administration is putting in efforts but its results are not visible until now. Students passing out under RUSA system are facing difficulty in getting admission in other universities as their degree is not being recognised outside the state. Student outfits are still opposing this system and demand withdrawal of RUSA system.
Quality of education has dropped at under graduate level during past three years as RUSA system was implemented in a haste to strengthen educational standards. Main reason is that University Grants Commission’s new rules have not been implemented in this system. The university provided choice of subjects along with credit system in RUSA but students are facing problems because of wrong choice of subjects. The first batch under this system faced problem due to wrong subject combination and major minor concept proved to be a headache for students and teachers. Nearly 3000 students left RUSA system midway to opt for other courses.
Ranking Remains Same
Ranking of colleges has also not improved in three years after RUSA was implemented. Only a couple of colleges have been able to get ranking that too before RUSA system.
There are shortcomings in RUSA system even as one batch has passed out. Under this system, many students are not getting admission as seats are fixed in colleges. As admission is done on merit, students with low percentage of marks are disappointed. Vacant posts of teachers is another drawback in this system that ultimately is reflecting in academic standards.
New Colleges In Abundance
The government has opened new degree colleges in abundance during past three years. However, officials put forward the plea of ongoing system for providing basic facilities and requisite staff in these institutes. The process for opening new colleges started in 2014 and is still continuing. In 2014, the government opened 14 new colleges, 11 in 2015 and 13 in 2016. In 2016, all these colleges were opened between January and June. However, there is no concrete policy for appointing staff in these newly opened colleges. In most of the colleges, staff was shifted from existing colleges. The plea is that staff was shifted where more than two teachers were available for one subject. Recruitment process is still on to get required staff for new colleges.
550 Posts Vacant
Nearly 550 posts are vacant in old and new colleges even as 504 new posts have been sanctioned and sent to Public Service Commission for recruitment. Sources said, neither funds nor infrastructure is available for new colleges that have been opened at a rapid pace. Under such circumstances, newly opened colleges have become more of a challenge rather than a facility. Figures reveal that new colleges during past three years were opened Kangra (9), Mandi (7), Solan (4), Sirmaur (3), Shimla (6), Kullu (3), Una (2), Bilaspur (1), Chamba (2), Hamirpur (1) thus making it a total of 38 until 2016.
* 2014 : Nagrota Suriyan, Rewalsar, Ladbhadol, Sandhole,, Dharampur, Diggal, Sarahan, Nankhari, Kumarsein, Baldwara, Gudagusai, Nihari, Khundia, Chail Koti
* 2015: Takipur, Lunj, Dada Seeba, Panarasa, Barotiwala, Bharali, Jwaharlal Nehru Fine Art college, Rey, Chowki Manyar, Kandaghat, Kafota
* 2016 : Solah Meel, Dhami, Tikker, Sri Naina Devi ji, Sihunta, Rakkar, Sainj, Dhaneta, Jandaur Khad, Neelkothi, Majhin, Kotli
* 2017 : Multhan, Mataur, Dehra
Three Colleges Undertaken
Three colleges were also undertaken by the government during past three years. These include Pandit Anant Ram Degree College, Badoh, Swami Vivekanand Gramodya, Shivnagar in Palampur and Jwalaji college. Process is underway to undertake one more college.
Limited Courses in New Colleges
Newly opened colleges are offering limited courses for students. As a result, students are unable to get admission in subjects of their choice and are forced to pursue similar courses. Lack of infrastructural facilities is big problem in newly opened colleges. Educational institutes have not been connected with online system as student awards and examination results are being sent through online mode.