The Telegraph
Thursday , June 12 , 2014
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Institute gets maths wrong
One teacher to run show

Bhubaneswar, June 11: The Institute of Mathematics and Applications here has been running with only one permanent faculty member for the past two-and-a-half years.

The state-run premier institute, set up with the lofty objective to become a national institute of repute in the filed of mathematics and related subjects, draws students from all over the country.

Yet, it banks on two research scholars and guest lecturers to take its 110 students through their curriculum.

The institute, which runs three-year BSc (Hons) and MSc courses with 36 seats for each class, has a sanctioned strength of seven permanent teaching faculty members.

At times, the institute’s director and registrar are even forced to take classes.

To give it a national character, the institute has no reservation option for students from the state. Students are selected here through an all-India entrance test. This year, for the BSc (Hons) course, it will hold tests at various places, including Calcutta and Hyderabad, on June 12.

The state’s science and technology department runs the institute, which was set up in 1999 on 21 acres on the city outskirts. Its courses are affiliated to Utkal University and it has hostel facilities for 96 students, though, at present, its student strength is 180.

The state government’s apparent neglect towards the institute stems from the fact that an agreement was formalised between the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, and the state government in October 2013, and the ISI was supposed to take over the institute. The ISI’s director had also met chief minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard. Now, the take-over proposal is pending with the Centre.

Institute director Sudarshan Padhy told The Telegraph that the MoU had made it clear that the Centre would absorb the teaching and non-teaching employees, hired before January 2013. Padhy said that once the ISI took over the institute, there would be further infrastructure expansion. He, however, made it obvious that the state government was reluctant to make fresh recruitment or take any initiative to improve its conditions.

Asked about difficulties the students confronted here due to non-availability of teachers, the only regular faculty member, Sudhakar Sahoo, said: “You can imagine. It’s a difficult task to take classes. We can barely manage. But, most of the staff members believe good days will usher in once the merger takes place.”

“We need good faculty members, who are specialised in specific fields as their knowledge and understanding of a topic is more,” said Somnath Das, a MSc final-year student in computational finance.

Though after the merger, the institute will become the ISI, Bhubaneswar, the students seem to care less. “We are little concerned about the name of the institute. We want quality education,” said Das, echoing popular sentiment of his classmates.

Science and technology minister Pradeep Panigrahy said: “I will look into the problems pertaining to the institute. I am new to the department.”