The Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) administration may have been hailing the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) as an achievement but student organisations are up in arms against it and blaming the authorities for the “mess” the in the educational system.
Backed by the ruling party in the state, the National Students Union of India (NSUI) has been favouring the RUSA programme and demanding strengthening of infrastructure, but the other two main student associations, the Left-backed Student Federation of India (SFI) and the BJP's Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have been opposing the programme and demanding its rollback. The university, however, has refused to go back on its decision to implement RUSA.
Since the student organisations are still hopeful of continuation of student elections in the university and colleges, opposition to RUSA has become more acute in the wake of due date for the elections approaching near. Usually, the elections are held in mid-August.
Meanwhile, the SFI has succeeded in making a joint forum of teachers, parents and students opposing RUSA across the state. SFI state president Suresh Sarwal said, “We have been mobilising people to oppose this 'destructive' system which was implemented in haste to get some grants from the Centre. I think for students, best education is more important than grants. And RUSA has deteriorated the educational system in the university as well as colleges”.
He said that joint forum has submitted memorandums to various college principals and soon it would submit a memorandum to chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
The right-wing ABVP is also opposing the system and terming it a “detrimental” step for the state. ABVP state secretary Ajay Bherta said, “When the state is not ready for RUSA, what is the need to implement it. There are several posts of teaching and non-teaching staff lying vacant. Without filling them, RUSA is a complete failure”.
The HPU authorities have failed to declare the result of several classes owing to staff shortage and lack of coordination between colleges and university.
Recently, the university has put up on its website a list of colleges who have not been able to implement RUSA. The principal of a government college, which figured in the list, said it was a move to shift blame on colleges. “When the university fails to implement it properly, it is shifting the blame on colleges and depicting us as criminals,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh College Teachers Association president R K Kayastha said that the first step should have been to create the basic infrastructure, which is the main problem today.