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Higher education minister takes some on-the-spot decisions at first-ever ‘open house’ in city for students & colleges

One of the important issues he heard came from a group of candidates for the post of assistant professor, who demanded that the minister clear the way for filling vacant posts in the state.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
February 19, 2021 12:21:26 am
Savitribai Phule Pune University, Uday Samant, Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Department, Uday Samant meeting, pune university, pune news, indian expressMinister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant. (Twitter- @samant_uday)

It was a hectic affair at the first ever ‘open house’ of the state Higher and Technical Education Department in the city, held at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) on Thursday as hundreds of students, teachers and college management representatives turned up to meet the minister and get their issues resolved.

Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant quickly earned the favour of petitioners as he took on-the-spot decisions, from sanctioning pending appointments to relatives of those who died in service on compassionate grounds, to fixing up meetings to resolve the long-standing teachers’ recruitment issue in the state and instructing university officials not to impede the autonomy of colleges.

The open house meeting titled ‘Ministry of Higher and Technical Education @ …’, which aimed to resolve grievances of students and parents, teachers and non-teaching staff and educational institutions from Nashik, Pune and Ahmednagar, saw a submission of total 920 grievances on Thursday. The minister said that 750 applications were disposed of, adding that a total of 4,411 applications had come in to his office, of which 4,053 applications were resolved even before the open-house meeting. He has held similar meetings in Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Kolhapur, Solapur and Gadchiroli earlier.

Samant, who presided over the day-long meeting, made two important announcements at its beginning. “The standard of education being offered at SPPU is very high and there is a lot of demand for collaborations from foreign shores as well. Soon, a sub-centre of SPPU will open up in Doha, Qatar. Last year, a land parcel worth Rs 2.2 crore was bought in Balewadi for opening up a study centre of the Yeshwantrao Chavan Open University. We have decided to allot Rs 10 crore for its construction. Also, we have decided that Pune will be one of the four cities where we start a sub-centre of Ramtek-based Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University,” announced Samant.

One of the important issues he heard came from a group of candidates for the post of assistant professor, who demanded that the minister clear the way for filling vacant posts in the state. “There are over 12,000 vacant teaching posts in the state. Qualified candidates are available but they have put a stop to the recruitment process, which we are pursuing since months. We are also demanding that hiring teachers on CHB (clock hour basis) should stop and instead they be hired on contract,” said a candidate.

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Samant, who addressed a press conference later in the evening, said that he has spoken to the state Finance Department and the ban on recruitment would soon be lifted. “I have asked all universities to submit an updated list of vacancies within 15 days and are hoping to fill 100 per cent vacancies. Currently, the principals’ recruitment is fully approved… we will shortly take a call on recruitment of professors too,” he said.

Scores of students met the minister with their issues, from erroneous marking to admissions delay in polytechnic institutes, demand for hostels to be made available and more study centres for competitive examination coaching. In response, Samant, promised to take action within a few days.

A group of students who met Samant apprised him of the delay in acknowledging ‘rollball’ — a sport which they said originated in Pune — as a recognised sport. “Since 2011, we have been asking the university to grant it recognition… as then these students can officially represent their city and varsity at international level. This is an unique game which started in Pune in 2005 and four world cups have taken place so far, but the university sports department never recognised it,” said Raju Dabhade, founder, Rollball Federation of India.

Samant, who met the students, was angered about the delay and insisted that a letter be issued immediately, recognising the sport and making it part of the sports syllabus. A letter issued by the Board of Sports and Physical Education at SPPU by evening said, ‘The All India University Association, New Delhi, has included the game of Rollball for inter-university competitions and from the academic year 2021-2022, SPPU will also be represented in this sports’.

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