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Cotton varsity fights against odds to transform itself

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, March 24 - Despite grappling with multiple problems including financial hurdles, space constraints and shortage of teachers, the Cotton University authorities are pulling out all the stops to transform the institution into a leading varsity in the country. The nascent university is the ugraded version of the 118-year-old Cotton College. The Cotton University currently has around 6,000 students, about 70 per cent of whom are girls.

Around 150 posts of teachers are lying vacant and over 50 of them are those of assistant professors. Most of these posts have been vacant since 2012. The recruitment-related scene worsened following a UGC ban imposed in August, 2018, on appoinment of teachers in the wake of an Allahabad High Court judgement on department-wise quota. The Supreme Court of India subsequently upheld the judgement.

However, the Union Government recently issued an ordinance to resolve the countrywide stalemate on recruitment of teachers in universities, deemed universities, etc.

According to Cotton University VC Prof Bhabesh Chandra Goswami, the university is now ready to advertise the posts. However, the recruitment drive will have to wait till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

Prof Goswami said the university has not been able to apply for a Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) grant as it is yet to attain the mandatory age of three years for the purpose. The State Government hence needs to come up with a special grant for the university, he added.

Prof Goswami further said an academic complex of the university with two multi-storeyed buildings � one ten-storeyed and the other nine-storeyed � is coming up behind its New Library Building. This academic complex will provide an additional space of over 10,000 square metres. Construction of the buildings has already started, which is likely to be completed within one-and-a-half years.

Meanwhile, the Cotton University has introduced three new departments � Archaeology, Environmental Biology and Wildlife Science, and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. It has also introduced mass communication and journalism courses.

The university is planning to start postgraduate classes in Commerce and Law and courses in renewable energy, radiation physics, data science, natural history and other courses under mentorship programmes. But space constraints have been a hurdle in this regard.

Against this backdrop, the Cotton University is planning to introduce evening courses from the next academic session starting from August, 2019, Prof Goswami told this correspondent in a recent interview. The university�s Registrar, Prof Diganta Kumar Das, Dean of Research and Development Prof Ganesh Wari, Dean of Students� Welfare Prof Devajit Sarma and Academic Registrar Dr Sanjoy Dutta were also present during the interaction.

Lack of boarding facilities for students has also become a serious problem. Most boys� hostels are in a dilapidated condition. The Mahendra Nath Deka Phukan (erstwhile DS) Boys� Hostel � the latest of its boys� hostels � was constructed in 1955, while the Swahid Kanaklata Girls� Hostel � the �latest� of its girls� hostels � was constructed in 1971.

Though the university has around 4,000 girl students, it can provide accommodation to only 280 of them. The University is planning a six-storeyed boys� hostel with a capacity of 110. The tender process will start shortly. The North East Council (NEC) has also approved of a boys� hostel and a girls� hostel with similar capacity.

Tender for a five-storeyed administrative building will also be floated soon. However, initially, only three of its floors will be constructed. Meanwhile, renovation of the university�s Kalaguru Bishnu Rava Hall auditorium is on, which will turn it into a state-of-the-art auditorium, said Prof Goswami.

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Cotton varsity fights against odds to transform itself

GUWAHATI, March 24 - Despite grappling with multiple problems including financial hurdles, space constraints and shortage of teachers, the Cotton University authorities are pulling out all the stops to transform the institution into a leading varsity in the country. The nascent university is the ugraded version of the 118-year-old Cotton College. The Cotton University currently has around 6,000 students, about 70 per cent of whom are girls.

Around 150 posts of teachers are lying vacant and over 50 of them are those of assistant professors. Most of these posts have been vacant since 2012. The recruitment-related scene worsened following a UGC ban imposed in August, 2018, on appoinment of teachers in the wake of an Allahabad High Court judgement on department-wise quota. The Supreme Court of India subsequently upheld the judgement.

However, the Union Government recently issued an ordinance to resolve the countrywide stalemate on recruitment of teachers in universities, deemed universities, etc.

According to Cotton University VC Prof Bhabesh Chandra Goswami, the university is now ready to advertise the posts. However, the recruitment drive will have to wait till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

Prof Goswami said the university has not been able to apply for a Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) grant as it is yet to attain the mandatory age of three years for the purpose. The State Government hence needs to come up with a special grant for the university, he added.

Prof Goswami further said an academic complex of the university with two multi-storeyed buildings � one ten-storeyed and the other nine-storeyed � is coming up behind its New Library Building. This academic complex will provide an additional space of over 10,000 square metres. Construction of the buildings has already started, which is likely to be completed within one-and-a-half years.

Meanwhile, the Cotton University has introduced three new departments � Archaeology, Environmental Biology and Wildlife Science, and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. It has also introduced mass communication and journalism courses.

The university is planning to start postgraduate classes in Commerce and Law and courses in renewable energy, radiation physics, data science, natural history and other courses under mentorship programmes. But space constraints have been a hurdle in this regard.

Against this backdrop, the Cotton University is planning to introduce evening courses from the next academic session starting from August, 2019, Prof Goswami told this correspondent in a recent interview. The university�s Registrar, Prof Diganta Kumar Das, Dean of Research and Development Prof Ganesh Wari, Dean of Students� Welfare Prof Devajit Sarma and Academic Registrar Dr Sanjoy Dutta were also present during the interaction.

Lack of boarding facilities for students has also become a serious problem. Most boys� hostels are in a dilapidated condition. The Mahendra Nath Deka Phukan (erstwhile DS) Boys� Hostel � the latest of its boys� hostels � was constructed in 1955, while the Swahid Kanaklata Girls� Hostel � the �latest� of its girls� hostels � was constructed in 1971.

Though the university has around 4,000 girl students, it can provide accommodation to only 280 of them. The University is planning a six-storeyed boys� hostel with a capacity of 110. The tender process will start shortly. The North East Council (NEC) has also approved of a boys� hostel and a girls� hostel with similar capacity.

Tender for a five-storeyed administrative building will also be floated soon. However, initially, only three of its floors will be constructed. Meanwhile, renovation of the university�s Kalaguru Bishnu Rava Hall auditorium is on, which will turn it into a state-of-the-art auditorium, said Prof Goswami.