Jorhat, Aug. 16: Lack of students, infrastructure and non-feasibility of the timings between 7am and 5pm has led to just one college starting double shifts this academic year in Assam according to the government directive.
Mariani College will start a double shift in the arts section at the higher secondary level. The decision was taken at the district committee meeting attended by the assistant deputy commissioner in-ch-arge of education Dhiren Hazarika. The panels in each district comprise the deputy commissioner or additional de-puty commissioner as chairman and principals of government colleges, among others.
Bimal Barah, principal of the Jorhat district nodal institution JB College, said many seats were found vacant in the 19 government colleges in the district. “In many colleges, science and commerce seats are yet to be filled to capacity. Therefore, the question of opening a second shift does not arise. Only the principal of Mariani College was willing to open another shift for the arts section in higher secondary since there is a demand for seats in an area where mostly people from the tea community reside and there is no high school,” he said.
According to statistics, 4,572 have taken admission in BA against 4,760 seats while 188 seats were vacant, while in BSc, 1,087 took admission against 1,200 seats and 133 remain vacant. In BCom, current admission is 588 against 690 seats and 102 seats are vacant. In HS arts, 2,780 have taken admission against 2,800 seats, leaving 20 seats vacant, while in HS science, 503 students have taken admission against 670 seats and 167 seats are vacant. Similarly in HS commerce section, current admission is 380 against 450 seats, leaving 70 seats vacant.
“Given this scenario, some institutions like Mariani College had 80 out of 150 seats vacant in BSc and Rangachahi College had 95 seats vacant in BA out of 250. How can they or other colleges start double shifts? If JB College, where demand for seats is high because of its central location, opens a second shift, then all other nearby colleges would lose more students,” Barah said.
The committee has asked the administration to rethink about the timeframe of 7am to 5pm since there are almost seven to nine subjects in colleges where students could pursue any combination.
Jorhat College principal Pabitra Pran Goswami criticised the government for not consulting the principals before passing such an order and said it was not feasible owing to lack of infrastructure as well as teaching staff, who were engaged in evaluation of test papers in the present semester system and hardly had time to take on additional teaching duties.
In the neighbouring Sivasagar district, Saumarjyoti Mahanta, principal of Sivasagar Commerce College, said the situation was more or less same in the district. “In our college, we have opened an arts section at the undergraduate level offering major in sociology and English. The sociology section has been filled more than its capacity of 64. We are running the college with very little infrastructure and the additional load of opening an arts section would be added to opening another shift,” he said, adding the teaching staff also has to contend with the heavy workload of the undergraduate semester system.
The college has several add-on courses like event management, travel and tourism and e-commerce and tally and therefore there was no space for starting another shift with so many ongoing classes, Mahanta said. He said he had not attended any meeting of a committee constituted by the district administration and was not aware whether such a committee had been formed.