If teachers are the foundations of an educational institution, this college has been teetering on the brink of collapse for years now.
A 60-year-old college in Naubatpur has as many as 2,000 students on its rolls, but just two teachers to cater to all of them. Understandably, the institution is hard put to conduct classes for those enrolled in its intermediate and honours courses.
MD College — affiliated to Magadh University — claims to run dozens of courses in the arts and science streams, but not a single appointment has been made for around 14 subjects over the years. The matter came to light during a Bihar Divas function held by the college recently, with animal husbandry and fisheries minister Awadhesh Kumar Singh as the chief guest.
Though the students held an impressive pictorial exhibition covering important events dating back to 1912, Magadh University pro-vice chancellor (PVC) Kriteshwar Prasad was surprised to find just two teachers guiding the students. Upon making enquiries, he found they were all the college had.
A shocked Prasad demanded an explanation from MD college principal Kanhaiya Prasad Sinha, who said this was a long-running problem that hadn’t been addressed despite several requests made to its parent university. The pro-vice chancellor then directed the principal to hire retired teachers from other universities and ensure that the students do not suffer anymore.
Describing the situation at the college, BSc student Rohith Kumar said classes were a rarity due to want of teachers. Though the principal tried to alleviate the situation by bringing in guest faculty members to conduct a few classes in physics and chemistry, it wasn’t enough to fulfil the students’ requirements.
Rohith’s colleague Shalini wondered why this rural college was given the cold shoulder when none of the educational institutions at Patna, Gaya and other cities suffered from shortage of teachers. She said that while those from affluent families managed to get by through private coaching classes, economically backward students had no option but to study on their own.
Dr Sanjiv Kumar, medical practitioner and alumnus of MD College, recalled the early 1990s when students from the neighbouring villages of Bikram, Paliganj, Arwal and Masaurhi would come to study at MD College due to its academic excellence. “It’s sad that nobody seems bothered about this college now, and its teaching staff strength has come down to just two,” he said.
Local residents said that at times, when both the teachers went on leave, classes were conducted by the institution’s non-teaching staff.
Bihar has 14 universities with 250 constituent and 200 affiliated colleges.