Srinagar, Nov 10: The Kashmir University (KU) authorities have called reflection meeting of academics to discuss “poor response” to newly-introduced courses in the main and its satellite campuses.
As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the meeting, to be chaired by Dean Academic Affairs on November 13, will specifically deliberate upon low student response to Integrated B.Sc-MSc Botany which was introduced at North Campus, Baramulla, from this academic session. It is also likely to discuss poor response to Integrated BA-MA in Arabic introduced in Kupwara Campus.
“It is a cause of concern that not many students turned up to take admission in the integrated programme despite being started with much fanfare,” said sources at North Campus, adding that less than 10 students have taken admission in the BSc-MSc programme in Botany, leaving around 80 percent vacancies.
According to sources, the University authorities got the newly-introduced programmes cleared from the University Council headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, after pleading that there was a “high demand” for these in the market. However, besides the BSc-MSc programme in Botany, the University witnessed a very poor response to the Integrated BA-MA programme in Arabic which was introduced from this year in Kupwara Campus.
“The poor response to the new courses shows that the University had not done proper homework before getting the proposal vetted at the University Council meeting,” said the sources, adding that the University authorities also ignored the rider of the Council that the new courses should be strictly launched after properly assessing their viability and future prospects.
“It amounts to misleading the University Council,” the sources added. “In the BA-MA programme in Arabic, only few students turned up despite the admission being thrown open for 10+2 candidates,” said the sources. Notably, the KU has this year faced a major downfall in student admissions, especially in the self-finance category and B.Tech courses, despite the Director Admissions keeping the admission open for nearly seven months, much to the embarrassment of the institution. Even as on date, the admission for many courses is on even though the University has now issued formal admission closure notification for the PG courses. “According to our estimation, more than half of available seats in the self finance category are still vacant in main and satellite campuses. It is a very big figure,” said one member of the University’s Admission Committee, wishing anonymity. He said not many students have come forward to pay for the vacant seats for unknown reasons.
“This is certainly a cause of concern,” the member said, adding that on directions of VC, a meeting under chairmanship of Dean Academics has been called on November 13 to discuss the “poor response” to the newly-introduced courses. Sources said the University has a full-fledged Admission Advisory Committee headed by the Vice Chancellor, which, however, hasn’t discussed the issue of loss of student strength. Academicians have already voiced demands that the declining admissions in the University should be discussed in the JK Higher Education Council, headed by LG, to examine reasons for declining admissions and chalk out a future strategy. “The University of Kashmir relaxed admission rules on their own, without taking the University Council on board, in bid to fill up the vacant seats,” said a professor, wishing anonymity. Citing one example, the professor said that owing to vacant seats, the admission eligibility norms for the MSc Electronics programme were relaxed to the extent that non-Electronics graduates, like those from Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, who appeared in the entrance, were also made eligible. “If this is the situation with a programme like MSc Electronics, it should certainly make the University take the issue of declining admissions seriously,” the academicians said.