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Lucknow’s Ambedkar university in state of ‘irreversible decline’ due to caste politics: UGC audit report

Govt-backed audit report says the teachers and students of the university are ‘sub-standard’ and highlights divisions on caste lines.

education Updated: Nov 25, 2017 07:41 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ambedkar University,Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University,Lucknow
The HRD ministry directed the UGC to conduct the audit of 10 central universities following complaints from different groups about the functioning of these institutions.(Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University/Official website)

The Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow is in a state of “complete and practically irreversible decline and collapse”, a government-backed audit report has said, highlighting divisions on caste lines in the central institution that have resulted in “physical, academic and administrative rowdyism at all levels”.

The “final death knell” of the university is the “role of caste and the part it has played in completely polarising the institution into various groups, special interests, political groupings”, the report said.

Hindustan Times has a copy of the report, which also said the quality of students was not at par with the desired standard of a central university, set up in 1996 and named after the Dalit icon of the country.

“The teachers are sub-standard and the students are sub-standard,” it said.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had set up five committees on April 25 to conduct an “academic, research, financial and infrastructure audit” of 10 central universities, including BR Ambedkar University, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Pondicherry University and Allahabad University.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry directed the UGC to conduct the audit following complaints from different groups from some universities about the functioning of these institutions.

Though open to students from all caste and religious groups, the Lucknow-based university was set up to achieve a specific objective of helping students of lower caste groups. 50% of the seats in the insititute are reserved for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) in all its programmes.

In 2016-17, 6,226 students were enrolled in various academic programmes of the 21-year-old university.

Established with an aim to become a centre of excellence in the field of higher education, the university has failed disastrously in achieving this objective, the audit report concluded.

The university’s vice chancellor, RC Sobti, confirmed the audit but said the management is yet to receive a copy of the report.

However, sources said the shortcomings raised during the audit were passed on to the vice chancellor and remedial measures have been taken to fix them.

The report mentioned “rebellious and destructive attitudes of some of the SC/ST staff and their feelings of entitlements cross reasonable limits and doubtless they are a major polarising and debilitating influence on the students and non-teaching community”.

“The victims of this entire educational ‘experiment’ are the students. The student community is totally divided on caste lines and even the staff and faculty have the similar divisions,” the report said.

The audit team said they received complaints that several teachers were not teaching the students regularly.

The report has recommended improvement in the university’s admission mechanism so that quality students are given seats based on merit.

It pointed out that there was complete absence of any kind of working relationship between the three principal administrative functionaries of the university— the V-C, the registrar and the finance officer.

Emphasis has been laid on infrastructural development through civil construction activities at the expense of academic development.

“Lush five-star type buildings for administrative authorities, guest houses, elegant gardens and first-class roads between these buildings co-exist jarringly with shabby classrooms, filthy hostels, insanitary eating places for students and derelict labs,” said the audit report.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 07:39 IST