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Students ‘Chakka Jam’ at Summerhill after answerless VC flees from HPU

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Reporting today’s student protest against massive fee hikes and for not conducting SCA elections, a newspaper reported (Online Update) that ‘police cane charge after students scramble with the HPU VC.’

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An HW member arrived at HPU Summerhill at 8:00 AM, 45 minutes before the protest begin and before any media person arrived, and captures many images and a video showing what exactly happened. Take a look at the video first. It was a very unfortunate sight to see how Govt. and HPU authorities are misusing police; a tool in state machinery meant for the protection and safety of its people.

HW had been following HPU campus from couple of years, we brought images from SCA elections, SCA functions, and protests for our readers. We always received very encouraging feedbacks from the readers. With respect to the trust of our readers in HW, we would describe the scene as a witness, and not as manipulated news by some bound reporter.

For last 18 days, students are on chain hunger strike, but no authority member of Govt. representative bothered to even listen to their grievance. Before that, students have been staging regular protest against innumerous student grievances, but nobody moved a muscle. The Vice Chancellor and the state Govt. did not consult democratically elected SCA before making massive, rather absurdly unjustified, hike in various HPU fees along with all affiliated colleges in whole Himachal. Some fees are hiked by hundreds of times, while some of them went beyond 1000-2000%.

Click here to read a related HW article on HPU fee hike

However, no one considered the growing unrest among the parents and the students. Afterwards, the VC defers the SCA elections for the present session, which were due to be held in Aug-Sept. A couple of days ago, a student body of research scholars had approached the VC with a plea to take back such huge fee hikes. They received a rude and absurd answer from him. He said, “Quite University if you can’t pay the fee’.

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Today, when the anger reached almost its peak, the students gathered at HPU campus gate in the morning and stopped VC’s car by blocking the road in an effort to make him talk to the students, answer their distressed calls and questions, about providing a justification of such huge fee hikes, the VC literally ran away from Summerhill under heavy police protection. Not even a finger touched his coat, no one abused him, and there was no scramble. But our media seems to be either partially blind, highly manipulative, and biased.

The title by that newspaper wins all sympathy for the VC and stage students as violent creatures. Instead, the students had to bear a light canecharge, and abuse by policemen.

The video uploaded above showed how policemen are overdrunk with wearing the power vested in ‘Khaki’. The students struggled to reach the VC and to stop him so that they could talk to him, but their anger grew as the VC ran away from the situation taking a cover of police protection. What should be expected from suffocating students, who are burdened with unjustified fee hikes while the standards of education and basic facilities rots at HPU?

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What should we expect from frustrated research scholars who are forced to come out on streets against the unjustified economical burden imposed on them for nothing?

It’s not about SFI or ABVP, it’s just about what is right; the truth. The Directive Principles of State Policy, enshrined in Part IV of the Indian Constitution reflects that India is a welfare state. Article 38 of the Constitution reads

The State shall make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

The Govt. extract taxes from the public on everything they earn or spend. These taxes also include education cess. While proposing this tax, Govt. had claimed it justified on the grounds of commitment that government will provide universal access to quality basic education. It means that the parents are already paying annual installments to the Govt. to meet the expenditure of their children’s education. However, students are again asked to pay fee to get education in a Govt. institute, and on top of it, you raise these fees to such an extent that the institution appears to be a sort of shop where education is being sold, and those who can’t afford it, are left on their own.

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These students, who were ignored when they tried to protest peacefully, are now busting with anger. Their anger is well justified. The university is meant for students. A Govt. educational institute must not be converted into a shop, especially when majority of public is struggling for economical stability. A nation with a low literacy rate is expected to make every possible effort to provide education to unprivileged section of society at the minimum cost possible. Does it make sense to extract profit from education in a nation where a huge number of students are forced to drop their school in order to take up job to earn and to survive.

What kind of economical background should we expect from the students who come to attend the only Govt. higher educational institute in the state?

These students, who are on hunger strike for over last two weeks, need support from all of us.
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Today, while the police was readying their water cannons and canes, waiting for the orders to charge on students, the students instead of dispersing put their bag and purses in a corner, joined hands like they are ready to take up repressive forces of the Govt.

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Take minute to contemplate as to why over 500 students would choose to be a subject to canechare or why they would bear water cannons, and still come back to face the same fate again and again? Their motivation doesn’t lie in political interests. Rather, it’s the zeal to fight for their rights, stand for the truth, and follow the principals that true revolutionary freedom fighters had laid down.

We would request all to stop assuming the situations based on what media says, and try to adopt a critical approach. These students aren’t foreigners. They hail from different parts of Himachal and as insiders, they have every right to protest and fight for their rights.

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Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Campus Watch

HPU College Teachers Condemn Lowering Pass Percentage to Improve RUSA Results, Student Organizations in Favour

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HPU Lower Passing percentage in RUSA 2

Shimla– The Himachal Pradesh University appears to have succumbed to the pressure from students as it recently issued a notification announcing lowering the pass percentage from 45 percent to 40 percent. The university also withdrew the criteria of separately obtaining qualifying marks for the Continuous Comprehensive Assessment (CCA) and scrapped the End Semester Examination (ESE). The announcement came following reports of poor results of Under-graduate Classes under RUSA system.

While the students and student organizations have welcomed this decision, the Himachal Pradesh College Teachers Association has condemned it. The teachers are of the view that reducing pass percentage alongwith withdrawing ESE and mandatory condition of obtaining 35% in CCA would only degrade the quality of education. The teachers termed lowering passing percentage as a very poor step to improve examination results. The teachers further complained that the university amended the provision without consulting all stakeholders and considering the negative implications of this decision.

The Association is of the opinion that the university is playing with the future of the students and the quality of education for the sake of improving results. The teachers also termed the decision contrary to the claims of the government to introduce quality in education.

Because now the students are required to obtain only 10 to 14 percent marks in the End Semester Exams instead of 35 percent, the teachers said, they would be under pressure to grant students 28 to 30 marks in CCA, which was decided based on three aspects: attendance, mid-term test, and overall assessment through assignment, tests, class seminars, and assignments.

On the other hand, student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has welcomed this decision.

“ABVP welcomes this decision. Prior to the introduction of RUSA, the passing percentage used to be 35 percent, and the number of subjects was also lesser. But now, under RUSA, the passing percentage was 45 percent, and the number of subjects was also higher. Moreover, there was a mandatory condition of securing passing marks in theory and CCA separately,”

Yograj Dogra, the Campus President of ABVP told Himachal Watcher.

“Moreover, it was ABVP that had raised this demand of lower passing percentage and scrap mandatory condition of securing 35 percent in CCA,”

he further added.

The Student Federation of India has not released any statement regarding this decision so far. However, SFI has also been advocating lowering of pass percentage to improve the results.

In May, the students had approached the Vice-Chancellor with a plea to reduce the pass percentage arguing that 70 percent of students who had appeared in the examination of the fifth semester were flunked. About 2600 students had scored below 10 marks and 900 had scored zero. The students had complained that there is no provision of re-evaluation under RUSA. For re-checking, students were made to pay a hefty Rs. 400 fee per subject, which was termed as financial exploitation of the students.

On June 14, 2019, the University issued a notification stating that the Vice-Chancellor has approved changes in these conditions.

“The pass percentage for the students of Under-Graduate Classes under RUSA(CBCS) system for the academic session 2016 and 2017 onwards be reduced to 40 percent instead of 45 percent to maintain the uniformity with the Annual system. However, the rewards of Practical examinations shall be kept apart, and it will only be calculated after the candidate secures 40 percent marks in CCA and ESE,”

it said.

The notification further said,

“The criteria of qualifying marks (i.e. 35%) for CCA and End Semester Examinations separately shall be considered withdrawn.”

The Teachers’ Association is of the view that the university has taken this decision to benefit a handful of politically backed students. The long-term results would be fatal for the academic standards and the future of the students, the Association believes.

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Nauni Varsity Ranked Highest in NIRF Rankings for Past 3 Years as it Leads in Academics, Extension and Research

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UHF Nauni Varsity in Last Three Years

Solan-The past three years have been highly successful for Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, and the university has made rapid strides on all the three fronts- academics, extension and research, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri.

He said that Dr HC Sharma, who will be completing a successful term as university Vice-Chancellor on June 14, credits the whole university for this unprecedented success. Dr Sharma has thanked the government for its support in improving the financial situation of the university in the past three years. He informed that the sanctioned budget of the university has increased from Rs 64.25 cr to 90.5 crores and the domestic income rose from Rs. 19.79 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 29.27 crores in 2018-19. This figure is expected to touch Rs. 32.6 crores in the current financial year. Owing to the improvement in the financial health, the university has been able to clear long pending dues (since 2011) of the employees and pensioners worth over Rs. 41.27 crores, he said.

He further informed that the university has been the highest ranked in the NIRF rankings in Himachal Pradesh for the past three years. The university achieved 80th position in the top 100 universities in the country and is the only one from the state to make it into the list. This year only nine agricultural horticulture universities from the country were in the top 100 list. In the ICAR State agriculture Universities ranking, UHF improved its ranking from 51 in 2016 to 38 in 2017. In the past three years, 44 positions of scientists and several posts of the non-teaching staff were filled by the university and 80 additional positions of scientists/assistant professors have also been approved by the Government, which will be filled up very soon. The student intake of the university also increased from 1250 in 2016 to 2250 in 2018/19.

The University has taken a great leap forward and a new College of Horticulture is being established at Thunag with a budget outlay of over Rs. 70 crores, he added. It is expected to give a major boost to horticulture and forestry activities in the area. The process of ICAR accreditation of the College of Horticulture and Forestry, Neri has also been completed and the college is expected to accredited soon.

The university has made significant progress in research and infrastructure development. During the past three years, the grant from ICAR and other central resources has increased significantly and the university received more than 10 crores assistance from ICAR over the past two years.  Several works like the Pavilion block and stadium (Rs. 1.20 Crores), gymnasium (Rs 25 lakh), Lab. for Soil Testing: (Rs. 45 lakh), Examination Halls (Rs. 2.00 Crores) Boys Hostel-(Rs. 2.50 Crores), Girls Hostel-VII – (Rs. 2.50 Crores) and other works worth several crores of rupees were commissioned and completed. On 1st December 2018, the Hon’ble Governor and Chancellor of the University inaugurated the newly constructed girls’ hostel at Nauni Campus, and one girls’ hostel and UG block constructed at Neri, were inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur in October 2018.

The crowning glory for the university, the PRO said, was the 9th Convocation of the university held on 21st May 2018, which was presided over by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind. The Governor of Himachal Pradesh Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur also graced the event. On the research front, scientists developed several varieties and technologies.

Varieties like Solan Giriganga in ginger, Solan Srijan in cucumber, Epicotyl grafting technique in walnut, high-density orchards of apple, guava, litchi, and mango were developed by the university. The university was successful in getting projects worth over Rs. 18.37 crores from various funding agencies in the past three years. Several technologies that were developed by the scientists were transferred to the entrepreneurs and the industry. The Botanical Survey of India signed an MoU with the University for opening up a Western Himalayan High Altitude Regional Circle at the university with a budget outlay of Rs 15 crore. The university has also been shortlisted for the Rs 30 crore project of the ICAR, which aims at strengthening undergraduate education in the university.

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Sanjauli College Himachal’s First to Offer Paperless and Cashless Facilities: Edu Minister

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Sanjauli College Website

Shimla-With the launch of its new website (www.gcsanjauli.com), the Centre of Excellence Government College Sanjauli has become the first college in Himachal Pradesh to provide paperless and cashless facility to its students. The website, however, redirects to sub-domain (https://gcsanjauli.highalteducation.in/) when students click on the button given for online admission portal.

The Education Minister, who launched the website, said that with this launch the college students will get an online registration facility. They will be able to fill up more than one form and will have the facility to update their forms online.

The students can also deposit their fees on this website by using HDFC payment gateway. The students can pay by various online payment methods including payment through debit and credit cards, e-wallets, Paytm etc.

The Principal Dr. C.B Mehta further informed that there are total 600 seats in Arts category, 20 in English Honors, 80 in Commerce, 140 in Medical, 140 in Non-Medical, 40 in BCA, 90 in Vocational Course (45 in Retail Management and 45 in Hospitality and Tourism). Other than these courses, the College is also offering a course in Journalism and Mass Communication from this session.

He also informed that several online application were received soon after the launch of the website.

The website was developed by a Shimla-based company.

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