Celebrating Kashmir University’s Excellence…
An Open Letter to Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the Varsity
The Hon’ble Vice Chancellor,
University of Kashmir
It is highly encouraging that University of Kashmir being first choice of students in Kashmir for higher Studies, has been included in the list of top 50 Universities in India by National Institutional Ranking Framework 2018. It is Significant. However, there is always scope for improvement and I would like to bring following facts in your notice.
The former Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the varsity, had taken various steps for upliftment of academics, but failed to reach some yard stick points, by which University of Kashmir has loss the potential. In beginning, the students who were enrolled in various Programmes were jubilant to see their selection at Kashmir University. However, students regrets their decision for joining distance as well as regular mode Programmes, because of endless visits to the Kashmir University to conduct contact classes and examination, but Kashmir University had taken a lackadaisical approach towards it and put students in a lurch. Students believe their tryst with Kashmir University has been marred by tragedies from the day of enrolment and feel “Kashmir University grows you old”.
The main fact behind the delaying in examination is due to implementation of semester system, which was borrowed from American Universities, and completely failed here. Because the evaluation process in US is internal. But when it comes to here, the burden is increasing on students as well on teaching faculty. Not only this the poor academic management in implementation of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), has created more chaos and confusion not only among the students, but also the teaching staff in the affiliated colleges offering Under-Graduate Programmes. The CBCS which was introduced by Kashmir University authorities, is now being recognized as a failure as well as a disaster in state’s Higher education system, as the guide lines put forth by University Grants Commission for running CBCS system has not been properly adhered, by which the issue of access and quality rank near the top had now declined.
Ironical situation is that, the 2016 batch enrolled students have recently appeared in their 3rd semester examination and their 2nd semester results had not yet declared.This situation on the part of Kashmir University administration puts ever stakeholder in a great dilemma, how and when the backlog examinations for such candidates who have failed in their previous semesters, will get conducted.
Interestingly, students from Kashmir division enrolled in Regional centers of Indira Gandhi National Open University New Delhi (IGNOU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad (MANUU) which are running the distance mode Programmes have completed their degrees on time, as the authorities managed to conduct examinations, even when examinations were delayed first because of 2014 floods and 2016 summer unrest, which threw the entire academic calendar out of gear. Other Universities in Kashmir division like Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora (IUST), Sheri-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKAUST) Shalimar Srinagar, Central University of Kashmir (CUK) which is running in various off-site campuses, have also managed to conduct their examinations without any further delay.
This poor academic session does not allow its constituents any room for creativity in teaching, learning, curriculum development or research. The delay in examination can be eliminated, if we have an autonomous administrative system for conducting the examination in an organized way. In such a structure, quality enhancement can only be brought about by reducing the burden at the university level and giving greater autonomy and accountability to the constituent Colleges at Under Graduate level through affiliation reforms. The Hon’ble Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Rashtriya Uchatar Shiksha Abhyian (RUSA) had initially drafted the academic reform system, for introducing the semester system, which has been drafted in collaboration with heads of central, state and deemed universities across India, to promote more responsive, diverse, and flexible learning. However, the University of Kashmir has completely failed to implement the basic purpose of semester system.
It is therefore incumbent upon you to undertake periodic review of academics and make it more vibrant. I hope your Excellency will bring back the Kashmir University on right track.
(Shah Khalid is a Srinagar based freelance Journalist)