Dehradun : 18 November,  2015

The scenario of higher education in Uttarakhand changed drastically after 1995. A number of colleges and universities were established over the last two decades. Uttarakhand boasts of having 20 universities-11 state, one central , one centrally funded deemed four private and three private deemed to be universities , one IIM, one IIT, one NIT and over 300 colleges affiliated with four universities. 

HNB Garhwal University, upgraded as central university in 2009 still carries the baggage of a state university. Parties ruling the state have only been sanctioning or starting new colleges sans infrastructure as a populist measure. Many of these colleges are running with an ad -hoc principal, one assistant professor and one peon -- housed in four-room private buildings. As a result, these colleges have been churning out graduates and postgraduates with zero employability. 

The situation in majority of self financed colleges is worse. Self financed colleges cater to the needs of students coming from outside the state. In these places, the faculty is virtually like bonded labour who can't complain as the threat of termination always looms large on their head. 

Unfair means and corruption is taken for granted in the murky business of affiliation. Inspection panels generally have names suggested by self-financed colleges. Majority of these inspection panels write their recommendations on the dotted lines provided by management. Seats are increased to unmanageable proportions. The ethics of quid pro quo is always suspected. 

Another issue in these institutions is copying in examinations, which is rampant. A premium is paid for making facilities available for copying. The answer sheets are not collected on the same day by the university. This gives ample opportunity to the management to manipulate. The situation is such that often, it is believed the highest bidders are called in the evening to re-write answer sheets. 

It is evident that such colleges are functioning only to earn as much profit as possible. Many of them are generating black money. Some of them are even charging capitation fee for admission in agriculture courses especially from students of north eastern states. They are being protected both by state level politicians , bureaucrats as well as a few people in central ministries. 

HNB Garhwal University especially has been bogged down by nearly 200 colleges affiliated to it. The university and its professors are busy throughout the year in conducting examinations, evaluation of answer sheets, and in inspecting these colleges. The affiliation and examination work has taken priority over teaching, research and extension work. The motive behind upgradation and conferring central university status to the university was to bring it at par with other central universities. It can be achieved only if it becomes a residential university with only three campuses. Otherwise, the whole purpose of providing the university central university status will be defeated. 

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