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Do-it-yourself mantra for varsity

Darjeeling, Feb. 3: The soon-to-be functional central university in Sikkim is set to introduce some sweeping changes in the perception of higher education. For one, professors will lead the way in keeping the campus spick and span, instead of the Group D staff.

“We will not recruit non-teaching employees just because there are vacancies. It will be need-based as we are looking towards making the varsity an institute espousing independent thought and making people self-reliant,” Mahindra P. Lama, the vice-chancellor of the university, told The Telegraph, over phone from Guwahati.

“This means that a professor will have to dust his own office instead of depending on a peon to do the work,” Lama added.

Apart from the name of the university — the recently formed executive council is still mulling whether to call it the Central University of Sikkim or Sikkim University — all other processes are almost complete.

“The institute will be set up 28km from Singtam in a place called Yangang (in Sikkim) and the government is acquiring an area of 300 acres. In the next five to 10 years, investment will be to around Rs 500-800 crore,” said Lama.

The university is expected to have its own hospital, multi-cuisine cafeteria, schools and even a helipad to attract the best brains from across the world. “They should be given a reason to join our central university instead of the others located in metropolitan cities. They will after all be entitled to the same salary and we need to give them some extra perks,” said Lama.

The university will have a system in which students will regularly evaluate the teachers. The courses on offer have been classified into three distinct categories — traditional, non-traditional and policy oriented. Non-traditional courses will include subjects like ethnic history, mountain studies, border studies and hill music and culture. The policy courses will be research oriented and aimed at helping governments frame their policies.

“Right now, we are preparing a 20-year Vision Paper for the Northeast. We, however, feel that there is an absence of expertise,” said Lama

The vice-chancellor claimed that he is already in touch with professors in the US, Singapore and Japan to invite them to Sikkim both on short-term and long-term basis.

All colleges in Sikkim, which are currently under North Bengal University, will get affiliated to the central university from this academic session.

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