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DMU PG students left in lurch as ‘transition’ puts administration in limbo

DM University, Imphal

What was supposed to be a temporary discomfort because of “transition to a new university” issues, is now slowly becoming perpetual victimisation as the saying goes, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers

By Lourembam Poireiton Meitei

Students of Dhanamanjuri University (DMU), which was established with a cluster of five colleges, namely DM College of Arts, DM College of Science, DM College of Commerce, GP Women’s College and LMS Law College in 2018, are left in the lurch as they have always been at the receiving end of curiously designed (mis)happenings. What was supposed to be a temporary discomfort because of “transition to a new university” issues, is now slowly becoming perpetual victimisation as the saying goes, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

Several issues like non-declaration of exam results, non-distribution of marksheets on time, issue of bifurcation of teaching and non-teaching Staff, issues regarding the 7th pay by FEGOCTA, infrastructure, etc have been hugely impeding the teaching-learning process of Post Graduate students of the University.

There has been a huge backlog in academic activities worldwide due to covid. This is true for all universities across India. Post-pandemic, every institution is doing their best to recover from the backlogs. However, as things return to normalcy, and other universities are completing their 3rd semester PG exams, the Dhanamanjuri University has yet to retain its momentum and the admission process for PG 3rd semester has not started yet. Students of the university now dread thinking of their future in the existing situation.

Loggerheads between teaching faculty and DMU Authority

Due to disagreements between DMU authority and the teachers’ body of the university, consistent and frequent protests from the latter, classes and academic activities are being currently halted, even as the academic calendar is running late by six months. Issues include a wide range of academic, structural and even political tussles.

The Teaching Faculty has been mounting pressure on the DMU Authority to apply for 12B status, under section 12B UGC Act, 1956 and the classification of PG and UG departments.

The Dhanamanjuri University was established under Section 2(f) UGC Act, 1956. Accordingly, the infrastructure of the university has recently been taken up under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, (RUSA).

On 24th November 2022, the long-postponed issue of the bifurcation of teachers was solved by the government, after which, the responsibility of applying for 12B status fell on the DMU authority. (If the university gets enlisted under 12B of the UGC Act, 1956, then the university will be entitled to various financial assistance from the Central Government, most importantly the NET/JRF scholarship scheme for Ph.D. Scholars.)

After the bifurcation of teachers, teaching faculty resorted to a series of protests again citing neglect by the DMU authority in applying for the 12B status. They boycotted classes and academic activities ceased, following which the DMU authority finally applied for 12B status on 13 January 2023. However, classes are yet to continue because the issue of classification of UG and PG departments remains.

Students fret as issues galore at DMU

Failure to conduct the required number of classes as per UGC norms for a specific semester, non-issuance of students’ registration numbers, delay in conducting semester exams, delay in declaring exam results, non-release of mark sheets timely, non-establishment specific department for Post Graduate, shortage of teachers and non-teaching staff, non-allowance of PG student to access library, lack of classrooms and the collision of dates of semester exams and the NET/Jrf exam which is held by NTA have put the students in a fix.

The results of the 4th-semester exam of the previous (2022) batch are yet to be declared. The PG batch of 2023 is expected to complete the PG course by June/July. Unfortunately, the 3rd-semester admission process has not started yet. Thus, there are anxious questions as to when admissions, classes or exams will happen. Or even if they happen, whether the results will be declared timely such that students can pursue higher studies in other universities.

Judging by the present trajectory, students will not be able to apply for PhD or give the NET/JRF exams on time, which is a disaster of pandemic proportions for the career of students.

There have been countless confrontations between students and the DMU authority regarding these issues. The reply from the authority often is always an indifferent remark; “DMU should never have been established in the first place” or “we are still in the transition phase” which greatly highlights the level of irresponsibility and lack of ownership. Often after elaborate discussions and dramatic protests, the confused students return home under the impression that it is their own fault for enrolling in this haphazard University.

The government, DMU authority and teacher’s forum should take collective responsibility for ever overlooking the interests of the students, time and again, consistently and persistently erasing the culture of scholarship, and for reducing our campuses to anarchy.

The students are the most important in a university. More so, in a society, because we need critically trained youths to inherit society with all its complex problems. Thus, we implore the responsible authority and all stakeholders to amend existing issues and revive quality education on the campuses.

(Lourembam Poireiton Meitei is a second semester student of MA (Political Science) at DMU)

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