MORE than 100 students of the Government College of Art (GCA), Sector 10, boycotted their classes on Tuesday morning and sat on a dharna in the college corridor for a few hours to draw the attention of the authorities towards some of their long-pending concerns and demands.
“Unlike other colleges, here we have no union, political affiliations, student leaders or representatives. We all stay together as a family, and for us, the college’s reputation is paramount, so this protest was not a strike or a means to create any ruckus or drama on campus. We all sat down in the corridor and asked our teachers to call the principal so that a few of us could meet him and put forth our concerns and demands,” a student said.
One of the main demands of the students is that the college should have a principal who has a background of art, is qualified and experienced in the field, and is in a permanent position for at least five years, as is the requirement in any professional college.
Sachin Rana, Special Secretary, Technical Education, is the principal of GCA.
“An IAS officer is given charge to act as the principal of the college, which has been the practice for many years. With additional responsibilities of other departments and commitments, he or she cannot devote enough time to the college. As a result, many decisions regarding the college and welfare of the students remain pending. As our teachers are not given any authority to take decisions, we don’t know which door to knock or whom to speak to. Even minor issues like passing of bills for refreshments for youth festival rehearsals remain pending,” another student who was part of the dharna said.
Also, on the list of demands are better facilities in the International Boys Hostel, Sector 15, where many GCA students reside. Apart from problems of cleanliness and hygiene in the hostel, the students want better food, infrastructure and regular water supply. Although renovation work has started in the hostel, students say the administration needs to allocate more funds for infrastructure and other facilities.
The dharna was called off in the afternoon and students were back in classes, after a meeting with the principal, who according to the students has promised to look into these demands and take action. “We all are studying to be artists here, and want an amicable solution to fulfil our needs, and we hope it will be done soon,” said another student, gearing up for a mime rehearsal for the youth festival.