Bhubaneswar, Nov. 10: The higher education department has initiated an exercise to check the credentials of private residential colleges that have off-and-on made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Sources said the department was eager to avoid embarrassing situations, such as the Plus Two question leak incident in March, which exposed illegal activities of such colleges.
It has constituted inspection squads by involving its retired officers and eminent educationists who are conducting surprise on-spot verifications on private college campuses across the state. Former director of higher education department Satyakam Mishra said residential colleges had been allowed to enhance seat strength or open new courses and streams without satisfying the eligibility criteria on several occasions.
“Inspections carried out in the last few years have failed to reflect deficiencies of residential and self-financing colleges. The squads are headed by regional directors, who are supposed to submit unbiased reports. But unfortunately, it was seen that many recommendations that came to us were ill-founded,” said Mishra, a member of one of the squads that would inspect colleges in Jajpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Nayagarh.
“As a result of the fudged reports, colleges got approval to increase their student intake and start new courses without adequate infrastructure, staff strength or qualified teachers. The colleges are getting more funds, while an unnecessary seat increase, especially in science, has made it difficult for the department to find applicants. That has to be checked urgently,” he added.
Senior officers of the department said surprise inspections would now be undertaken across the state to find out the actual status of the private colleges.
“Their role in question paper leak has already been established. But, we have information that they also manipulate exam results,” said an officer, hinting at the Kalinga Bharati Residential College in Cuttack, which came under government scanner for securing maximum positions in the Plus Two top-20 list in 2010.