Ranchi, May 10: The vocational courses on offer in Ranchi University (RU) may range from fashion designing to sericulture to post-graduation in astrology, but the utter dearth of teachers and infrastructure makes a mockery of the wide choice.
In the last few years, the varsity has launched a string of vocational courses to link students with diverse livelihoods and careers. But forget providing proper placements, the varsity couldn’t even conduct these courses properly.
It is a vicious cycle.
Insiders say the lack of resources — cash and infrastructure — hampers induction of adequate or quality faculty, the absence of which lowers the benchmark of all such courses.
According to UGC guidelines, a minimum of six regular teachers (one professor, two readers and three lecturers) should be employed in each vocation course department. But none have even one regular faculty member.
Not only faculty members, 20 courses ranging from mass communication, to rural development, human rights, public administration, et al, are run under the university at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, but lack their own buildings and rudimentary infrastructure.
The department of mass communication, launched in 1984 for undergraduates, added a masters-level course in 2009. But since the past 27 years, the department tags along with political science department, running out of a two-roomed makeshift arrangement.
It may be the most senior, but it isn’t alone.
Rural development is tagged with anthropology, biotechnology is run in the botany department, public administration with political science, human rights with sociology. The list seems endless.
Pro-vice chancellor V.P. Sharan admitted there was “a major problem”.
“The varsity suffers from acute paucity of funds as well as land. These impede our earnest desire to provide a holistic environment for vocational courses under one umbrella,” he said, adding that Ranchi University had over 500 vacancies as well.
“Moreover, the government doesn’t shell out a single penny for the vocational courses, which are solely run on the self-financed mode,” he added.
As a result, the university, currently, can afford to pay around Rs 300-Rs 400 per class to the faculty in any given subject. Thus, it is impossible to induct experts in respective fields, who after all, cannot be expected to come to the varsity and teach for peanuts.
In a recent development, the university has slashed fees of courses such as MBA, public administration and human rights, among others.
For example, to pursue a course in public administration, a student who would earlier have had to shell out Rs 50,000, can now pay only Rs 15,000. Human rights and MBA, at Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively, have each slashed their rates by Rs 5,000.
But Sharan denied that the step was the fallout of waning demand.
“There is demand for our courses. But the varsity is cutting its fees keeping in mind the student profile. After all, most of the affluent ones go out of the city to study in the metros or abroad,” said Sharan.
He also added that they were demanding central university status to be able to upgrade the standard of education and stop brain drain.