Guwahati, Aug. 8: Dispur today gifted Rs 20 crore as development aid to Handique Girls’ College on its platinum jubilee year while pointing out that diversion of such funds was an ill that plagued higher education in the state.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi unwrapped the gift while inaugurating the year-long celebrations and promised that funds would not be a constraint to enable the institution to meet challenges in the field of education.
“I hope Handique Girls’ College will play the role of a torchbearer in a big way in empowering women not only in Assam but also the entire eastern region. My government has given a big thrust to women’s education,” Gogoi told reporters on the sidelines of the function here.
It is said establishment of Handique Girls’ College in 1939 had truly opened the floodgates of higher education for women in the Brahmaputra valley.
Principal Indira Bardoloi said as the college was stepping into 75 glorious years of existence, it was only hoped that the institution would be more versatile, more vibrant and a leader in the global knowledge revolution in the days to come.
The college now has more than 3,000 students on its rolls including in the post-graduate classes and more than 100 faculty members serve to the best of their ability to uphold the tradition of the college.
On the other hand, speaking on the same occasion, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said spending of funds meant for development of colleges and universities on non-academic activities was one of the main reasons for the myriad problems plaguing higher education in the state.
“Recently, I visited Tezpur University and was amazed to see the infrastructure and facilities at the university. I was initially under the impression that the university had received huge amounts of money from the central government every year to create quality facilities for the students and teachers. But after making an inquiry, I realised I was wrong. If we count the funds sources, both from central and state governments, Gauhati University receives more every year than Tezpur University,” Sarma said.
He said the reason behind Gauhati University’s inability to create infrastructure and facilities like its Tezpur counterpart was more spending on non-academic activities.
“The state universities and colleges are seen spending more on payment of salaries, that too, of non-academic staff. Over the years, the education department in Assam has become an organisation to hire unemployed youths, not producing quality teachers to impart quality education. Though I am in charge of this department, it is the bitter truth,” Sarma said.
He said unlike others, teaching was not a profession to earn a livelihood only. “The prime objective of teachers is to impart quality education and produce brilliant products for the country and society. Unfortunately, for a section of teachers in the state, the prime objective is to earn a month’s salary.”