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Bangalore’s iconic Visvesvaraya College of Engineering has many suitors

Interestingly, the battle for UVCE's ownership has now become a triangular contest with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), the state varsity that holds the authority over engineering education in Karnataka, coming into the picture. Bangalore University (BU) and Bengaluru Central University (BCU) had been in a tussle over the same since BU's trifurcation in 2018.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
June 3, 2019 9:29:11 am
UVCE-Vivesvaraya-College-of-Engineering-Bangalore-Bengaluru-iconic Bangalore’s iconic University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) which was established in 1917. Photo/uvcecentenary.ac.in

Bangalore’s iconic Unversity Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) has a legacy for over a century. The lone engineering college under the aegis of Bangalore University (BU) has been part of a tussle in terms of ownership and administration since the trifurcation of the varsity in 2018.

The new Bengaluru Central University (BCU) has been in the forefront to include UVCE to its list of affiliated colleges, indicating that the college falls under the same Central College campus which is the administrative headquarters of the new varsity. At the same time, top officials from the parent university BU has been defending their view of the college continuing to carry the varsity’s name as it was, since a long time.

Interestingly, the battle has now become a triangular contest with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), the state varsity that holds the authority over engineering education in Karnataka, coming into the same picture. VTU had requested the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) to add UVCE to their list of 201 affiliated engineering colleges in the state, several of them from Bangalore as well.

The issue is expected to be addressed by the special committee, formed by the KSHEC and headed by former Karnataka Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, to solve the matter. The committee also includes Prof. S.A. Kori who was looking into all matters related to BU’s trifurcation and is expected to meet next on June 4.

Incidentally, BCU continues to stake claim over the premier institution and has requested the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) to give administrative power to the varsity for this year’s (2019-20) admissions to UVCE. According to BCU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof. S. Japhet, UVCE belongs to BCU as per the Gazette in accordance with the Karnataka State Universities Act (2000). He confirms that the letter was sent to KEA stating that BCU should be given the authority to conduct admissions to the iconic engineering college. BCU officials are now awaiting a reply from the KEA. He adds that the matter will be represented in the upcoming meeting.

“We have visualised a complete roadmap for UVCE in order to make it a centre of excellence in engineering and engineering sciences including possibilities of management studies, humanities and philosophy. UVCE will grow into becoming a centre of cutting-edge research which addresses issues faced by Bengaluru city and Bengalurans,” Prof. Japhet tells Indianexpress.com.

However, BU has gone forward to publish the UVCE seat matrix for the upcoming academic year on their official website. At the same time, BU VC Prof. K.R. Venugopal believes that it is high time that UVCE was awarded autonomy. Also former UVCE principal, he adds that the same should be implemented under the provisions of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme for the development of higher education, initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in 2013.

When Indianexpress.com contacted alumni members of the college, they opined that such tussles should not affect academics in any manner. “Over the years, the UVCE legacy has always been one step ahead of all other institutions in the state and that should continue. When the college is performing well under the same varsity (BU) for so many decades, why should it be handed over to a new varsity? Instead, autonomy should be in place to ensure all resources are used wisely towards the betterment of courses offered and student and faculty development,” says Kalyan Kumar, an alumnus of UVCE.

He adds, “While VTU is already struggling to hold ends together, they should not be allowed to take over UVCE. This should continue and in no way should the college turn into a mere monument.”

However, senior officials indicate that the issue will not be solved soon as a change in administration would affect certificates of current students when they graduate in 2022. “We hope that the committee will take a diplomatic call keeping in mind the best interest of the student beneficiaries over everything else. Administrators should keep in mind to work towards solving staff shortage and infrastructural problems rather than playing dirty politics for power and administrative authority, a former VC of BU who wishes to be unnamed says.

At present, UVCE holds 550 undergraduate and 350 postgraduate seats. The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) had warned the college of reducing student intake by 10 per cent earlier this year, by citing staff shortage and lack in infrastructural offerings.

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