Drawback damper for varsity tag

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit today was a disappointment for those who hoped he would meet the demand to grant Patna University the status of a central varsity, but many believe the varsity has hurt its own chances.

By Roshan Kumar in Patna
  • Published 15.10.17
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Patna, Oct. 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit today was a disappointment for those who hoped he would meet the demand to grant Patna University the status of a central varsity, but many believe the varsity has hurt its own chances.

At the centenary celebrations, Nitish requested Modi to declare Patna University a central university "on this historic occasion" but the Prime Minister instead invited the university to bid for the Centre's new scheme of making world-class universities.

Patna University vice-chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh said: "When chief minister Nitish Kumar made a fervent appeal to the Prime Minister for granting central university status to Patna University, hope ignited among the students, but by ignoring the demand, they ended up being disappointed." Singh added he would approach the Centre again to put forward the long-pending demand.

However, sources said even though Patna University has been demanding central university status for a long time, it has not been done on the right platforms. The university's lack of infrastructure facilities, shortage of teachers and little contribution to research have also hurt its chances at attaining central university status.

For instance, against the sanctioned strength of 850 teachers, Patna University has around 250 teachers. V.S. Dube, a retired teacher, said: "Teacher shortage is a big concern for the university. In the recent times, too, it has not made any remarkable contribution in research work."

"The university is the country's seventh oldest but it has not gone for National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ranking till date," Dube repented. "There are 11 colleges under Patna University but only Patna Women's College and Magadh Mahila College are accredited by the council. Even Patna Science College - the institution hosting the centenary year celebrations - has not been accredited."

Those in the know also claimed the university has not put forward its demand for central university status in the recent times. Last it did, they said, was during Y.C. Simhadri's tenure as Patna University vice-chancellor.

Former Patna College principal N.K. Choudhary disagreed with Dube's contention. "The university has been demanding central university status not as a reward for its glorious past, but as assistance from the Centre to strengthen its infrastructure and academics," he said. "We know that our present is not glorious, but to restore its old glory, the central university status could be to our advantage."

Another teacher said on condition of anonymity: "The Prime Minister not granting central university status to Patna University should not be made into a big issue. Only two universities older than Patna University - Banaras Hindu University and Allahabad University - have the central tag."