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HPU’s Disabled Students Denied Reservation and Basic Facilities Despite Court Orders

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Disabled Students and Youth Association, Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– It is not less than an embarrassment for the Himachal Pradesh Government and the HP University that even disabled students are compelled to fight for their rights. The apathy of the system is such that these students are not getting any relief despite orders of the State High Court to reserve no less than five percent seats for disabled at higher educational institutes.

This indifference toward such students is apparent from the fact that the accessible library for the disabled students of Himachal Pradesh University, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on July 22, 2019, doesn’t even have a washroom and students, especially visually impaired girls, are facing difficulties. It was revealed by the disabled students of HPU in a memorandum submitted to the Governor and Chancellor, Bandaru Dattatreya, on December 13, 2019.

It is not shocking then that the Chief Minister inaugurated a library facility for the disabled students without basic facilities because it was merely a formality performed in response to an order of the State High Court passed in a PIL filed by a disabled student, Banita Rana, in 2014.

Victims of this apathy on part of HPU’s administrative officials, the Disabled Students and Youth Association (DSYA), Himachal Pradesh,  approached the Governor. The Association alleged that the HPU Administration is blatantly violating not only the educational rights of the disabled students but also not following the orders of the State High Court issued in November 2018.

Research Scholars, Mukesh Kumar and Saveena Jahan, Convener and Co-Convener of DSYA respectively, alleged that the Registrar, HPU, Ghanshyam Chand, disregarded orders of the court to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students during admissions. He went on with admissions for the session 2019-20 without implementing the order in any of the courses, they alleged. The disabled students were also not given this reservation while allotting hostel facility.

A visually impaired student, Indu Kumari, native of Chamba, had filed a PIL, while hearing this petition on November 5, 2018, the court had directed all institutions of higher education to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students.

“Therefore, we dispose of this petition by directing that all institutions of higher education and other higher educational institutions receiving aid from the government in the State of Himachal Pradesh, shall not only reserve not less than 5% seats for persons with benchmark disabilities but said reservation to the extent of 5% shall be provided each time when the institution initiates the process of admission to academic courses,”

the court had directed in its judgement.

The Registrar was also a party in the said PIL, despite that, the Association said, the Registrar is not afraid of attracting contempt of court by not implementing the order.

Further, the Association also complained that the said accessible library lacks several basic and necessary facilities.

“This accessible library in its new shape was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 22, 2019. The disabled students who come to this section of the library are still deprived of the necessary equipment including talking software, Internet (LAN) connection, sufficient compute-chairs, tables, newspapers, e-journals of different subjects, periodicals, good quality heater and curtains on the windows,”

The Association also alleged that a budget to the tune of Rs 5 lakh, which was sanctioned and mandated to purchase talking software for visually impaired students, is about to laps since the Registrar did not make any purchase.

The Association also alleged that out of a total of 17 computers installed in the accessible library, only four computers are in working condition and have the necessary software installed.

The Association also complained that a Junior Office Assistant (JOA), who was appointed in the library to assist the blind and other visually impaired students, was transferred on September 24, 2019. Since the transfer, no replacement was provided and the library is without a JOA for the last three months.

The students alleged that the Registrar is not paying heed to the directions of the Vice-Chancellor as well.

The Association urged the Governor to look into the matter and protect the legal rights of the disabled students.

The Association also requested to provide a recourse room for the visually impaired students in the varsity where they can access reading devices, make recordings and books in Braille.

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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