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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

UHF Nauni Bags Rs.25 Crore Funding, Set for Major Overhaul

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UHF Nauni gets IDI funds

Solan: The learning and teaching environment at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is set for a major overhaul under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri. He said that under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the prestigious Institutional Development Project  (IDP). The total outlay of the three-year project is Rs 25 crore with ICAR share of Rs 20 crore and Rs 5 crore funded by the state.

He said that this is one of the biggest projects in UHF’s history and a major achievement for the university. It will help to provide a holistic learning and teaching environment to the students and faculty as scientists and students will be exposed to foreign universities to learn and exchange researchable ideas and issues. The University Vice-Chancellor is the project leader while Dr KK Raina, Professor and Head, Department of Business Management is the coordinator and Principal Investigator of the overall project, he informed.  

The main objective of the project entitled ‘Quality Education in Horticulture and Forestry to generate Human Resource’ is to revamp the university’s UG education through innovative and modern pedagogy, skill development, improving placement opportunities and catalyzing entrepreneurship through global thinking and input. He further said that under IDP, the university will look to strengthen collaborations with leading academia and industry for student exchange and faculty development programmes. 

He informed that around 150 UG students and 50 faculty members will be selected through a competition, to visit top-flight foreign universities for a period of 3-6 months. Organization of webinars and seminars, workshops and capacity building, and engaging industry experts as adjunct faculty is also included in the project. In addition to the creation of several student amenities, the university will establish UG and language labs for improving soft skills, eight smart and two virtual classrooms. He said that the project will also push green initiatives like the use of solar energy for cooking, lighting, use of battery-operated vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, campus landscaping and development of nature parks.

He said that one of the highlights will be the development of Short-Term International Certificate course on temperate horticulture and forestry crops and the strengthening of Student Development and Career Development Cell by developing a proactive industrial interface to create job and internship opportunities. Remedial courses, special attention towards weak students, agri-incubation centres on hi-tech plant nursery, processed food and forest products for entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills will also be taken up during the course of the project.

He further informed that several works have already begun under the project, and initiatives like raising new plantations have been undertaken. The students are eagerly looking forward to this project and have been actively taking part in all activities. A review meeting of the core project team and the statutory officers under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor was held on Saturday. Director Extension Education Dr PK Mahajan, Deans Dr Bhupinder Gupta and Dr ML Bhardwaj also took part in the meeting. 

“This is a very proud moment for the university as we are among the national group that has got grants under this project. It will help us to improve the work culture and change the outlook of the students by providing a holistic learning environment. Besides, it will also help to enhance the quality of study and potential of the faculty will be fully utilized,”

said Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor.

He said that only a select few agricultural universities have managed to bag the project through nation-wide competition.

The university will further focus on skill enhancement of students through study programmes with international collaborations and provide an inclusive and equitable quality education for the students through the faculty development programme. Dr Kaushal added that under the project, the university will ensure the sustainability of quality education and system effectiveness through the strengthening of the University Alumni network and industry interface. 

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-uhf nauni ug admissions 2020-21 session

Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Campus Watch

HPBOSE Syllabus to be Reduced by 30% for 2020-21 Session Following CBSE’s Lead

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HPBose Syllabus 2020-21

Dharamshala: The syllabus of Himachal Pradesh School of Board Education from 9th to 12th classes would be reduced by 30 percent following the lead of CBSE.  The Board today constituted a five-member committee for this purpose, informed Chairman of HPBOSE, Dr Suresh Kumar Soni. The step is being taken considering the disruption to regular classroom study of students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The committee comprises of Deputy Secretaries Anjali Saini and Sudarshan Kumar, and Anil Naag – the principal, Senior secondary School, Sulah, Kangra district-and Vijay Sharam- the principal, GSSS Daroh, Kangra. The fifth member would be Dimple Kanwar.

The Board also held a workshop in which experts in Hindi, Political Science, History, Geography, and Psychology subjects gave their opinion regarding the syllabus.

Further, the Chairman said that emphasis would be laid on reducing the syllabus for the board classes. Exclusion of topics from syllabus would be done in accordance with suggestions received from subject experts, he said.

The teachers should keep in mind that the students do not remain deprived of knowledge but at the same time keep the stress of syllabus off them, he said. He asked the teachers to not include any questions in exams from the topics which would be excluded from the syllabus. A proposal regarding it would be submitted to the state government for its approval, he informed.

Earlier this month, CBSE had announced a reduction in its syllabus for students of class 9 to 12. For class 11, CBSE had excluded chapters on federalism in the Constitution, political theory sections on citizenship, secularism and nationalism. For class 12, India’s relations with its neighbours, sections on social movement, regional aspirations, the changing nature of India’s economic development, and the Planning Commission were excluded.

For class 10, CBSE had excluded the chapter on forest and wildlife in contemporary India from social science. Besides it, chapters on democracy and diversity; gender religion and caste, popular struggles and movements, and challenges to democracy have also be removed. For science classes, the students would not have to study the human eye functioning, a section on concepts of evolution, several practical experiments, like tests on acetic acid, mounting a leaf peel, and studying the comparative cleaning capacity of soap in hard and soft, water were also removed from the syllabus.

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