If it wasn’t so tragic, the story of how talented students are treated by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) could have been made into a full-blown comedy film. Winners of Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir (PMSSS), who are given the grant to study in a peaceful environment away from the trouble zone, have been allocated colleges which don’t exist. Other institutes do not offer the programmes they want to study. In one case, a male student was sent to a women’s college.
The fact that these students come from financially backward families has made their plight harder to bear as they travel from J-K to far-flung areas; only to rush back to Delhi when they find out about the blunders made by AICTE.
Adil Ahmad Bhat from Srinagar, who was awarded the PMSSS in 2015, was sent to the Institute of Management and Computer Studies in Kusmara town of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh. Once he reached the place, Bhat realised the institute did not exist. “I spent the whole day running from one area to another, asking people for directions to the institute, but the locals informed me that it did not exist,” said Bhat. He had to then go back to Delhi to request that his college be changed.
Anuj Sharma from Kathua district, J-K, had a more painful experience. AICTE sent him to study a bachelor’s in physical education to a college in Solapur, Maharashtra. Once there, Sharma discovered that it was a one-year postgraduate diploma course and not a three-year degree programme which he wanted to study.
“I went from Jammu to Solapur and then from there to Delhi to request AICTE officials to change my college,” says Sharma.
They sent him to Narmada Maha Vidyalaya in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh – which again did not have the three-year degree course in physical education.
“In Delhi once again, an AICTE official asked me to get a letter from the college saying they do not offer the course. Do they expect me to go back again,” asks Sharma.
Bilal Ahmed, a student from the Valley, was sent to do a bachelor’s in computer application (BCA) from HL Degree College, Hardua Ganj, Aligarh. The college did not have faculty to teach the course as no other student had applied. They were, however, very helpful and asked Ahmed to take private tuitions and come back to write the annual exams.
When contacted by this correspondent, the principal of HL Degree College said, “In the last five to six years, no student has taken admission in BBA and BCA course so there is no faculty in the college to teach these subjects. I wanted to help the student so I told him to get admission in my college but take tuition from outside to prepare for the exams.”
Another student who did not want his name revealed said he was offered a college in Kerala, which turned out to be exclusively for women. “People laughed at me when I reached the college and the security guard did not allow me to enter the gates. When I showed him my admission letter, he laughed at me. I spent Rs. 20,000 travelling to and fro the place. Many other students have faced similar issues, says the student.”