Prolonged agitations in Andhra Pradesh since 2009 for and against the division of the state have hit the student community hard with many of them migrating to other states for pursuing professional courses. Frequent bandhs, rallies, road blockades and strikes have been a regular phenomenon ever since the issue of division of the state took the centre stage in 2009.
The disruption of counselling (involving verification of certificates and other aspects) in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions for admission to engineering and other professional courses since August 19 is only the latest in a series of protests that put the students in Andhra Pradesh at the receiving end. "The agitations only damage the interests of students in their own regions. At the end of the day, it is the ordinary middle class students who are hit hard.
The son of a rich man can go to other state or even abroad," K Nageshwar, a member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, who is himself a professor, told PTI in Hyderabad.
The disruptions result in delay of academic calendar, thus adversely affecting students, who appear for national-level competitive examinations, like CAT and various other recruitment tests, he said. The young job seekers expected a recruitment spree by the government in a pre-election period, but that was not to be due to the continuing agitations, he said.
"The agitators should question the political parties and the politicians. Instead of questioning them, they are damaging the interests of the students," Nageshwar said. The political uncertainty and the agitations have resulted in large-scale migration of students of professional courses like engineering to other states, N Ramesh, president of consortium of private professional engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh, said
"Definitely, it has an impact on students, Andhra and Telangana both. This year, almost 40,000 students have already migrated to other states," Ramesh said. The disruption of academic activity has also resulted in dilution of quality of education as completion of academic year itself became the priority, he said. With colleges not being able to conduct classes as per schedule due to disruptions, the duration of a four month-long semester is squeezed to just two months or so, he said.
Noting that evaluation of answer sheets has also become liberal as "saving the academic year" has become the main concern, Ramesh said quality is compromised in the process. This scenario resulted in some companies under-valuing the high percentages obtained by students from Andhra Pradesh in placements, he maintained. In another scenario, he said, some companies assessed the students' knowledge by excluding marks obtained in internals and lab tests. According to him, the engineering graduates are now applying for any job available in the market as they lack sound knowledge of the subjects and also that openings are less now. "Majority of the engineering students now are applying for bank jobs, SI (sub inspector of police) jobs...any job they are applying.
The government is not concentrating on this," he said. The quick resolution of the political issues is the solution to the problems, but it is not in the hands of the educational institutions, he added.