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Engineering students protest affiliation bid

Guwahati, July 30: Students of Assam Engineering College today protested in front of the office of Assam Science and Technology University here against its recent announcement that the college would start functioning under the university from this academic session.

Assam Engineering College, a premier engineering college of the Northeast, is affiliated to Gauhati University. The Assam Science and Technology University was set up by the state government in 2010 under the Assam Science and Technology University Act, 2009, with the objective of “bringing all existing engineering colleges/institutions under a common platform to follow same course curriculum.”

The protest follows the attempt to bring all the four government engineering colleges/institutions — Assam Engineering College, Jorhat Engineering College, Jorhat Institute of Science and Technology and Bineswar Brahma Engineering College in Kokrajhar — under the Assam Science and Technology University along with five comparatively new private colleges/institutions.

The protesters were apprehensive that the standard of the government engineering colleges would go down if they followed the same syllabus and functioned under the same university along with their private counterparts.

“The students of government engineering colleges are selected purely on merit basis. But many students take admission in private engineering institutes by paying huge amount of money. Besides, to bring uniformity among its affiliated colleges the Assam Science and Technology University will increase the fee of government colleges, which will hit students from poor family hard,” a protester said.

The director of technical education, Atul Bora, told The Telegraph that as of now all government colleges would remain affiliated to their respectives universities as before, but hinted that they would have to come under the Assam Science and Technology University soon.

“Otherwise, they (government colleges) will have to justify their reasons. The issue will be discussed and debated,” Bora said.

Bora, however, did admit that the Assam Science and Technology University’s advertisement was rather hasty, as the government colleges have not even applied for affiliation.

Sources said the teachers of government engineering colleges were preparing to approach to Dispur that they be spared from joining the Assam Science and Technology University unless it develops its infrastructure.

The teachers had recently held a meeting on the issue.

The general secretary of Assam Engineering College Students’ Union, Pranab Milan Gogoi, said the “negative” move had come at a time when Assam Engineering College was considering ways to become at a par with the IITs.

The principal of a government engineering college said they had not received any directive from the directorate of technical education on the issue of seeking affiliation from the Assam Science and Technology University.

The principal said they were comfortable with their existing university. “We are confused over the issue.”

The protesters said they would continue their agitation unless the government solved their problem.

“Today is just the beginning. We will intensify our protest till the problem is solved,” a protester said.