The post-graduate unit of the political science department in Presidency College will get no funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the next five years, despite the college getting the highest rating for over-all performance and infrastructure.
This, apparently, follows a UGC inspection of the 300-plus colleges in the state to determine its allocation during the 10th Plan, when it was found that the department does not have enough teachers, say officers.
The allocation — for the five years of this Plan — is part of a development grant from the Union human resources development ministry and has to be spent on the maintenance of existing buildings, libraries and laboratories and expansion plans to be implemented during the next five years.
Despite the political science hitch, Presidency’s high rating — and the grants it received — are realistic, say officers. It has been allocated Rs 64.5 lakh, three times more than what has been given to the next highest allottee among the 100-plus colleges within the city proper and the 200-odd more spread over the rest of the state.
There are three second-bests, according to the UGC, in the city. Maulana Azad College (government-run, like Presidency), St Xavier’s College and Asutosh College have got Rs 19 lakh each for the same five-year period.
Outside Calcutta, however, they have been upstaged by a few institutions in the rural belts of Howrah and Midnapore, each of which has been given Rs 20 lakh to spend.
Presidency’s political science department has reacted with shock to the UGC decision. “We were dismayed when we heard the UGC decision because the political science department has never been denied in this fashion,” said departmental head Prasanta Roy.
State higher education officials explained that the department was unfit for the grant as it did not have the minimum of two Ph.D-holders teaching at the post-graduate level.
Political science department head Roy refused to accept this as a valid ground for denying the grant. “Ours is a government-controlled college, which is why our teachers are often transferred to other colleges,” he said.
“My department is lacking Ph.D-holders at present because some of our teachers with this qualification have been posted to other institutions. We will get more Ph.D-holders as soon as the next round of transfers is conducted by the government,” Roy pointed out.
South Calcutta Law College and another B.Ed-teaching college that has been similarly deprived.