Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 15:
Even as the Odisha government has decided in principle to separate Plus-II colleges from Plus-III, the bifurcation seems unlikely this academic year as the infrastructure isn’t ready yet.
Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy has been reiterating that the segregation of the intermediate colleges from the undergraduate colleges would occur soon.
However, the paucity of teaching staff, adequate classrooms, library facilities, practical halls, among other things are proving to be an impediment in implementing the decision.
On the other hand, the faculties of several government colleges have threatened not to take classes in Plus II level. They justify their view by citing that teaching only at intermediate level would affect their Grade Pay and make them ineligible for UGC scale. “We would continue to teach students from both the colleges,” they said.
With hardly two months to go for the beginning of the next academic session, the state government is yet to publish the notification on formation of a committee on segregation of Plus II from Plus III. The panel to be formed would be headed by the Director of the Higher Education department. The committee, thus formed, would submit modalities on bifurcation of Plus-II from Plus-III and bring it under the School and Mass Education department.
The state government has not finalised the modalities yet. The academic year is about to begin from July. If the government implements the decision mid-year, education would be affected, students and parents apprehend.
“The colleges would have to abide by the government decision. We are losing grants under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the Centrally-sponsored flagship programme for secondary education. The government was losing around Rs 100 crore annually in grants under the RMSA. Junior colleges are eligible for the grants once they are dissociated from the degree colleges,” a senior official of the higher education department said.
Notably, there are around 700 colleges in the state which offer both Plus II and Plus III courses. In addition to this, there are another 750 colleges which offer only Plus-II curriculum.
When the NAAC team visits the colleges, they find that the Plus II and Plus III courses are conducted in the same colleges as a result of which the institutions lose grade points. The scene is similar in autonomous colleges too, the senior official added.