A YEAR after the University of Mumbai announced a masters course in Archaeology and a new department for the study of the subject, the infrastructure and financial aid for department are yet to see the light of day.
The MA in Archaeology course began last year with 32 students but is currently being conducted by the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS). “While the announcement of the creation of a department was made in May last year, nothing has moved on that front. We don’t have a designated space in the campus neither do we have any infrastructure,” said Mugdha Karnik, director of CEMS. She said that except ‘a paltry sum’ for the honoraria of visiting faculty members, the department had not not received any aid.
Currently the MA course is running with only two university faculty members — Karnik, who is retiring in June this year and assistant professor Kurush Dalal, who has been appointed temporarily under the 11th plan of University Grants Commission. The rest are visiting faculty members. “Since the plan period ended in 2011, every six months professor Dalal is granted an extension. Having worked in the university for seven years, he has not been absorbed yet,” said Karnik.
With Karnik retiring in June, the post is likely to be occupied on a temporary basis by a deputy registrar since no advertisement had been issued for the post, said sources in the university. Dalal, too, has decided to not seek anymore extensions, he said. University sources said because of a blanket ban from the state government over filling vacant posts, the university has not yet advertised for the position of Director.
“Without permanent academicians helming the department and the MA course, students will suffer. The visiting faculty will continue to take classes, though,” said Karnik. In May 2017 then Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had announced a new MA in Archaeology course, the first such in the city. He had said that the course would be initially conducted by a new department for Archaeology and until the department comes into force the CEMS would offer the course.
While current VC Suhas Pednekar was unavailable for comment, acting registrar Dinesh Kamble said he was checking the status of the department. “We are looking at the matter. We’ll do the best we can,” said Kamble.