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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Almost 1200 Degree Colleges in Odisha are presently running without regular Principals.

Let that sink in, before going forward with the data of government colleges because, as many as 49 government-run Degree colleges too have to make do with adhoc Principals.

The sorry state of affairs of the higher education institutions in the State has raised questions on the intent of the department. It is widely believed that shortage of funds has rendered the absence of regular Principals in Colleges.

The issue threatens to become worse in the near future when the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) team visits next year to rate the colleges in the State. As per reports, not only studies, but no developmental work can be done in the absence of regular Principals in colleges.

And as far as the Principal in-charges are concerned, it has been alleged that almost all such Professors are nearing their retirement age. So none of them is willing to take up any important decision with the fear of getting into some disputes before retirement.

Abhiram Mohanty, a student said, “The Principal in-charges never take important decisions. They just want to pass the remaining time of their jobs peacefully without any dispute. So a regular Principal is needed to take important decisions to develop the infrastructure of the college.”

Speaking to OTV, the Vice Chancellor of Fakir Mohan University, Professor Santosh Tripathy said, “Be it accounts or administration, the colleges are lagging behind in every aspect. And when the NAAC team arrives for rating, we will find ourselves in a mess. Hope the government takes this seriously.”

It is pertinent to mention here that out of the 1200 colleges without permanent Principals, 488 are aided colleges and 1150 colleges are under the ‘662 group’. Not only that, 12 B.Ed colleges and eight model degree colleges do not have a permanent Principal too.

Gagan Beura, general secretary of 662 Lecturers Association said, “For the colleges to develop both infrastructure and study, it is of paramount importance to appoint a permanent Principal.”

Asked about the issue, Odisha Higher Education Minister, Arun Sahu said, “We have been filling up vacancies since the last two years. A total of 2400 lecturer posts have been filled up since 2016 and we are going to fill 900 more soon.”

With the introduction of new courses almost every year, voices are getting louder to fill all the vacancies in degree colleges for the overall development of students.

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