Soothing ragas usually resonate in the Bhatkhande music institute (deemed university).
But in the current scenario, all is not music for the students and teachers of the institute.
Take for instance the teacher taught ratio in 86-year-old institute.
For every 110 students, there is just one teacher.
Out of the 40 sanctioned posts in the institute, there are only 18 teachers to impart training to nearly 2,000-odd students who come from various parts of the globe for music education.
The number of students is increasing each year at the institute.
This year alone, more than 1,000 have qualified the entrance test out of nearly 1,500 who appeared for it.
But, as the inflow of students continues to increase, the outflow of trained faculties also continues.
Reason: One of wings of the state’s culture department, the Bhatkhande institute is the only one that is yet to allow the benefits of the Sixth Pay Commission to its teachers.
Of late, quite a few senior teachers have quit their jobs here and shifted to other places offering better salaries.
The dissatisfaction is clearly evident among the gurus.
“We all are on a lookout for better opportunities. We are artistes after all and there is dignity attached to our profession. Whoever gets fair remuneration for his work, would surely switch to the new job,” said a faculty member.
Commenting on the issue, Shruti Sadolikar Katkar, vicechancellor of the deemed university said,
“We have written to the state government over the matter numerous times. But action is still awaited.”
The salary issue is affecting teaching as well.
While the number of teachers is not commensurate with the student strength, the deemed university has inadequate funds to invite qualified teachers as guest faculties to hone the skills of students.
“The university can’t afford giants of the music world. And those who agree to come on meagre amounts may not meet the required standards,” said a faculty member.
The last appointments were made in 2005.
But following several disputes that have been going on for long, the university has not been able to advertise its vacant posts.
Fund shortage is also a hindrance in quality education at the institute.
There are various student-friendly proposals before the university like invitations for student exchange programmes, inter-disciplinary researches etc.
But fund crunch restricts the institute from moving ahead in such endeavours.
The university is introducing a course on sound recording and technique, but the standard infrastructure is yet to be made available for the aspirants of the course.
The high court had on March 20 directed the state government to transfer Bhatkhande Music Institute from the culture department to the higher education department of the state government to maintain the reputation of the institute and standard of specialised teaching.
The court, in its order, mentioned that the decision of transfer of the deemed university was based on the court’s concern over the increasing PILs and pending writ petitions against the institute.
EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS
When HT interacted with a student from Sri Lanka, he said, “Some years back, a family member of mine studied here and is very well placed today. He has won national awards and is a known name. I too have come with similar hopes.”
The student would be spending almost R1 lakh each year on his fee and accommodation.
But whether the institute would be able to live up to his expectations is a big question.