GUWAHATI, Feb 1 - The movement to upgrade the historic Cotton College into a university is about four decades old. The movement was launched in the late 1980s by the educationists of the State, besides teachers, employees and students of the college.
This movement made the then President of India Late Dr Shankar Dayal Sarma declare the college a Centre of Excellence on October 15, 1992. The present Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma was the then general secretary of Cotton College Union Society (CCUS).
The movement continued even after that announcement and the demand to upgrade the college into a university continued. This resulted in the establishment of the Cotton College State University (CCSU) in November, 2011. All these are part of the enviable Cotton College heritage.
The above were observations of Cotton College Teachers� Association (CCTA) general secretary Dr Arup Kumar Hazarika, while talking to The Assam Tribune. He was reacting to the present attempt by certain circles to denounce the move to integrate the CCSU and the Cotton College into a single entity.
He said that the teachers and employees of the college were consulted by Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in separate meetings held at the Sudmersen Hall on October 6, 2016. There, the Minister explained in detail the issue of upgrading Cotton College into a university. The Minister told the teachers and employees of the college that all their apprehensions concerning their job status and future, including the pensionary benefits, have been taken care of while conceiving the approach to upgrade the college. The meetings were attended by all the teachers and staff members of the college.
The Education Minister clearly explained that the century-old heritage of the college would in no way be affected by its upgradation into a university.
Prior to this, Prof MK Choudhury, chairman of the State Government appointed eight-member expert committee to look into the issue of upgradation of the college into a university, also held a four-hour long meeting with the present Principal and the teachers� representatives of various departments on September 21, 2016.
Prof Choudhury also held another meeting with the representatives of the Cotton College Alumni Association, CCTA office-bearers and representatives of the Retired Teachers� Association and the teachers of various departments of the college subsequently.
Another member of the eight-member committee, Dr Indra Kumar Bhattacharyya, also a former principal of the college, visited all the departments of the college to gather the opinion of the teachers on the issue.
All these developments are on record. The propaganda of the detractors of the move to upgrade the college into a university that the teachers and employees of the college were not taken into confidence while finalising the integration proposal is hence a travesty of truth, clarified Dr Hazarika.
He further asserted that there is no question of withdrawing the higher secondary classes of the college. The Education Minister said in categorical terms on October 6, 2016 that the intake capacity of the higher secondary classes of the college would be slightly reduced for the purpose of improving the quality of education so that those studying higher secondary courses in the historic college could easily crack the all-India level entrance examinations, said Dr Hazarika.
Moreover, there is no question also of degrading the quality of the undergraduate education in the college with its upgradation to a university. The college has been holding post-graduate (PG) classes since 1919. Between 1919 and 1930, its three departments, namely Botany, Economics and English � used to hold PG classes.
Besides, the CCSU has been accorded 12 (b) recognition by the University Grants Commission and hence there should not be any confusion on the quality of the degree conferred by it, added Dr Hazarika.