The Assam Women’s University issue is yet to be resolved with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal not answering in clear cut terms what the government plans were in regard to the educational institute functioning here as the only women’s university in the northeast since 2014.
Meeting a few students and teachers of the university at the Assam Agricultural University guest house after addressing the small tea growers meeting held earlier, Sonowal said that it will be turned into a centre of higher learning but did not specify whether it would retained as a University or not.
He further said that they would come to know within a fortnight or so and that they would also be consulted on the matter.
The students, already shaken to the core by State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma‘s contradictory statements to the media in which he first stated that it would be converted into a Technical Institute and the jobs and degrees would be taken care of and then retracted to say that he was planning something bigger and better for the University and that the degrees had no value as the University did not even have a vice chancellor, broke down at Sonowal’s vague response.
One of the students said that the machinations of the politicians had taken a toll on them and they could not go back to their studies unless the matter was clarified to them.
Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa’s assurance that their degrees would be protected also cut no ice as they wanted to have this in writing from Sarma, himself.
The students who are continuing their hunger strike for the second day today demanded that the recommendations of the committee set up by the State department of higher education and submitted to Ajay Tewari, Principal Secretary, state department of higher education, Dispur on June 13, 2017 be implemented at the earliest.
The panel comprising AAU VC K M Bujarbaruah, former Tezpur University V C Mihir Kanti Chaudhuri, Krishna Gohan, secretary, government of Assam and Arpan Saikia, registrar, AWU and AAU and member secretary had recommended that AWU be made into an affiliating University with all Women’s colleges in the State brought under it.
By no means should it be merged with some other institute given the Centre’s thrust on higher education for women at affordable cost and quality, more so as this was the only University for higher education for women in the northeast, the panel said.
Regarding Infrastructure the panel said that it was manageable but not adequate and due to lack of funds the University had not been expanded.
The committee recommended construction of facilities like additional hostels with gym sports and smart classes, library, canteen and administrative building.
Permanent faculty, appointment of vice chancellor and permanent non-teaching staff, research in some departments, introduction of skill component, and introduction of Science and Technology depending upon the market demand were some of the recommendations.