The deadline set by the Higher Education department for its officials to send an inspection report of all non-professional colleges in the state is over. A warning that failure to comply would result in suspension of joint directors of the department, and attract a departmental inquiry seems to have not worked. Officials put the blame on the overshooting of the May 31 deadline on acute shortage of staff and apathy of universities to which colleges are affiliated. They say the deadline is steep and sought more time.
Besides, the deadline set through a notice dated April 30 by the Higher and Technical Education Ministry to the Director Higher Education came when many of the staff were on Lok Sabha election duty.
Joint directors were told to inspect colleges. The notice mentioned that universities are responsible for ensuring quality and standard of education in affiliated colleges. The colleges were asked to send information on infrastructure, staff and standard of education. A team from the department was to visit each college to cross-check the veracity of the information. The report had to be sent to the government.
The time limit was to ensure any action against colleges violating rules would come before the academic year 2014-15 commenced. The inspection was triggered by the Nagpur bench of the High Court finding 250 colleges in Nagpur flouting norms. They were asked to be shut down last year. In a bid to cleanse higher education institutes the department was asked to inspect all colleges.
Officials said it is a mammoth task to inspect every college when there is a dearth of officials even for departmental work. “All government offices are short of staff. These people have to complete departmental work and then visit colleges. The inspection includes measuring area of the college. The work is tedious and time consuming,” said a senior official who did not wish to be named. “Then there was parliamentary elections. More than half the staff was engaged in election duty for almost half of the month. There are more than 400 colleges in every division. It is impossible to complete the task in a month. It will be completed within the next 15 to 30 days,” said the official.
P R Gaikwad, director, Department of Higher Education, said, “We are conducting an inspection after the state government asked us to compile data of all colleges without teachers or infrastructure. The Universities Act does not allow us to take any action on colleges. Hence we will convey our concern and remarks to the universities which will take action against colleges.”