After Chennai, angry students have started an agitation in Salem as well. Students of Vinayaka Mission Deemed University's Krupananda Variyar Engineering College are demanding that their management get the necessary AICTE approvals. When Shanmuga Sundaram, Vinayaka Mission Chairman, tried to pacify the angry crowd of students, it only exacerbated the problem. There have been reports of scuffle involving hired thugs and students and subsequent Police intervention.
Following this, about 65 students have been suspended from the institution, for being at the forefront of the agitation and for questioning the Chairman. All students staying in the College Hostel have been asked to vacate their rooms. The College administration has also closed the College indefinitely.
Our reporters met the students who had gathered opposite the College, on 24th [May 2006]. "They asked us to leave the hostel yesterday night at 11.30 PM. How can we girls go anywhere so late in the night? We have been paying Rs. 20,000 per year as hostel rent. Over an above that, we pay mess fees every month. Why should we leave the hostel? Even though this is a college hostel, it has been sub-contracted to private parties. The hostel has not been functioning properly. Though this is a ladies hostel, only men have been appointed as wardens" said an angry girl.
"We didn't bother about the money, because we were hoping to get quality education here. But only after coming here we learnt that there is no quality here. None of our teachers can speak in English. They know only Tamil. But most of the students here are from Bihar, Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and other states. The teachers teach in a mix of Tamil and English. They are not experienced in teaching either. The lab facilities are very poor. In short, though they call this a Deemed University, it is no better than a high school. We were patiently tolerating all this. But this latest AICTE problem... We can't tolerate this one. It is complete waste getting a degree not approved by AICTE. That is why we are agitating", said a bunch of students who were hiding their faces with masks.
"Chairman Shanmuga Sundaram's hired goondas have beaten us up. The local Police is entirely in his pocket. We have come from 3000 km away, not do be rowdies here, but to study. They have cut off the food in the hostel today. We do not know how we can manage", said few students from Bihar.
As more students gathered, the anger level went up as well. They started shouting slogans such as - 'We want justice, 'We demand AICTE recognition', 'Money-sucking management, also think about our future!', 'Don't unleash violence on students' and 'Cheating Chairman down down!'. As a climax, they burnt down the effigy of Chairman Shanmuga Sundaram.
In the meantime, a group of student representatives went and met Salem district Collector Mathivanan. He immediately sent a group of officials headed by an RTO. On 24th evening discussions were held in Salem RTO's office. College management representatives stated that the AICTE issue was sub-judice and the management will follow whatever the court decrees. The student representatives demanded revoking the suspension order given to the students and re-opening of the hostels. The college authories promised to re-open the hostel immediately and said if proper explanations are given by the suspended students, they will consider revoking the suspension orders. If peace persists, they said college may also be re-opened.
The District Administration announced that the College authorities will give up their vengeful attitude and the students have also agreed to co-operate in re-opening the College. But the question as to whether the student agitation will quieten down or not, still lingers.
Courtesy: Kumudham Reporter (requires free registration and login, in Tamil. Translation is mine).
AICTE vs Deemed Universities - the chaos continues. A bunch of Tamil Nadu based Self-financed Engineering Colleges have obtained Deemed University status and have been taking the students for a ride. They do not follow any norms laid down by AICTE. They do not allow AICTE to inspect the college premises.
The students, it appears have been putting up with the poor quality of education, because fundamentally they do not seem to be interested in quality education either. They only want an AICTE approved degree certificate.
It may sound cruel but I almost feel like telling the students that they deserve all the shit they are getting. They should have agitated earlier when they found the quality of the education not up to the mark. When the facilities were lacking. When the teachers were found to be pathetic.
The involvement of district administration is troubling. This requires intervention from the State Education Ministry. Not the District Collector. The Collector almost always treats everything as a law and order problem. He has very little idea about the educational
In the previous Jayalalitha administration, no one from the state cabinet ministry was involved. It was left to AICTE to fight out the problem directly with the college administrations. At least in the new Karunanidhi regime I hope someone from the state cabinet gets involved in punishing the errant colleges.
I received an email from a person in Jammu that Vinayaka Mission is offering distance education courses in Jammu and promising Engineering degrees to students who are pursuing polytechnic diplomas. There are no contact classes, practicals, or lab facilities. The 3-year course can be crashed and finished in just 1.5 years, and the students can walk away with Vinayaka Mission Deemed University "degrees".
All I can say is, Caveat Emptor!