The “New Education Policy-2016” proposed by Higher Education Department of Odisha has NOT done correct assessment says, Associate Professor, Digambar Patra, who fights for the causes of Kalahandi, while selecting/proposing new affiliated Universities across state because of the following reasons:
(1) The draft proposal should have considered quality of the colleges during selection procedure. Colleges having dubious record in the past for malpractice are given priority than college like Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna (GACB), which has always kept high standard of education practice in this region. This is well reflected from the fact that GACB was among the: (i) first 52 colleges in India to receive Potential Center of Excellence (PCE) by University Grant Comission (UGC); (ii) first three colleges in Odisha to get PCE status by UGC; and (iii) the first college in KBK region to get PCE recognition by UGC
(2) Among the first three PCE colleges of Odisha, other two colleges (G M College and Khallikote College) in Odisha have already been made Unitary/Cluster Universities by state Govt.
(3) GACB is one of the most respected and prestigious colleges under Sambalpur University and in this region for quality education.
(4) Because of its good standard, the same higher education department of Odisha state Govt. had recommended in 2014-15 for upgrading GACB to a University under RUSHA scheme of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. Unfortunately, GACB could not fulfill RUSHA requirements due to lack of sufficient number of lecturers and other infrastructure facilities for which state Govt. is largely responsible, thus, present suggestion for affiliated universities by ignoring GACB contradicts earlier recommendation of same higher education department of Odisha.
(5) In addition, this proposal also contradicts recommendation made by earlier Higher Education Task Force headed by Prof. Pradhan by your own Govt., which had recommended upgrading GACB to an affiliated University for Kalahandi and Nuapda region in the name of South Western Odisha University. Recommendation of GACB to a University was even prior to conversion of G M College and Khallikote College to Universities by the same task force.
(6) In 2008 Sambalpur University had also proposed a branch campus in Bhawanipatna and a UGC team had inspected for this proposal, the fate of which is hanging.
(7) The current new education policy suggests affiliating Universities in Jeypore, Balangir, Rourkela, Angul and Puri. That means the concentration of new Universities will continue to be again within 100 km radius of Bhubaneswar, as one more affiliated Universities have been proposed in Puri (undivided Puri district will have two affiliated universities) and other one in nearby Angul. Rather the committee should have recommended Ravensha University to an affiliated University for undivided Cuttack district and kept Puri under Utkal University for undivided Puri district only.
(8) Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha region has already multiple number of national and state institutions including IIT, NISER, IIIT, AIIMS, five state Govt. universities, and three private universities etc. whereas Berhampur has multiple numbers of state Govt. institutions and 2 state Govt. Universities along with newly established IISER. NIT at Rourkela and IIM in Sambalpur boost number of national institutions in Sambalpur-Rourkela region. This region has 3 state Govt. Universities in Sambalpur and one state University in Rourkela. North Odisha has also two state Universities in Balasore and Baripada. In comparison, KBK region comprising 30 % of Odisha’s geography and 20 % of its population has only one Central University of Orissa (CUO) at Koraput. There is no state Govt. University for the affiliated colleges in the region due to political biases. It does not have 20 % or 30% of state Govt. universities as per the need of its population or geography. This region needs special consideration to have more national institutions and state Govt. universities, especially to develop as a higher education corridor. Otherwise all the arguments by higher education department using low GER and regional disparity are meaningless.
(9) Geographically, Bhawanipatna is centrally located in all KBK districts and unlike Balangir it is farthest place from Sambalpur University. In fact based on geographical and other considerations Sambalpur University had earlier proposed campuses in Bhawanipatna and Rourkela whereas Berhampur University has proposed a campus in Jeypore.
(10) If affiliated Universities can be made each for Puri-Nayagarh, Dhenkanal-Angul and Sundergarh-Deogarh, undivided Balasore district then why not for Kalahandi-Nuapada? Socially, politically, economically, regionally and infrastructure wise it will be good to make three affiliated Universities in KBK region one each at Jeypore, Bhawanipatna and Balangir, especially, when this region is well known for backwardness, low GER, poor regional distribution of higher educational institution and high concentration of tribal population.
All the above proves very well that Govt. Autonomous College Bhawaniptana is the most deserving college in KBK region under Sambalpur University based on its potential and quality education and all other past recommendations by various committees, Sambalpur University and UGC (University Grant Commission), therefore, it must be considered for a University in new education policy 2016.