Thursday, January 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU may involve teachers in exam duties
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Panjab University needs to seriously implement the mandatory regulation of involving teachers in all examination-related duties. These include paper setting, invigilation and evaluating exercises. College teachers in small numbers and campus teachers in greater numbers continue to abstain from these duties year after year.

This and many more recommendations regarding improvement of the examination system came up for detailed discussions at a meeting of commerce teachers from more than 50 colleges recently. To make the discussion more worthwhile, Prof S.C. Vaidya, a former Dean of the Commerce and Management Faculty, had also invited senate members. The senate members included Principal A.C. Vaid, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Mr Ashok Goyal and Mr Satya Pal Jain.

It was pointed out that the certain teachers were given five-six papers of different classes for evaluation which was against the expected norms. The examination branch here has a point in saying that enough teachers were not available to assist in the examination process due to which ‘adjustments had to me made’. Speakers said it would be a worthwhile exercise to ask the university to give a list of all evaluators and the work assigned to them.

It has been pointed out that the University Grants Commission norms already had the examination duties as an inseparable part of teacher’s duties, however, it was not implemented in letter and spirit. “This is something like the UGC instruction to universities to ensure 180 teaching days in an academic year which was never done”, a teacher pointed out.

The deliberations and discussions at the seminar were later also taken up by the Board of Studies of Commerce.

“ Out of syllabus” was a frequent problem that students were facing in one examination or the other year after year. The university has to ultimately end up giving uniform grace marks to all students which was considered not fair. The meeting went on to extent of saying that only teachers who taught a particular class should be made to set the papers and evaluate them. However, it is felt that an amendment in the existing norms will be required for this purpose.

It was pointed out that the university should also see the profile of paper setters. The paper setter should at least be familiar with the course contents, objectives and what was actually taught in classrooms. Paper evaluation and environment of the place where examinations were conducted also needed to be congenial. Panellists opined that continuous evaluation was a good alternate and undoubtedly in the larger academic interest.

Another lesser occurring, however, undeniable fact is that mediums in which students attempt their papers ( English, Hindi and Punjabi) are not separated in certain cases before being sent for evaluation.



Panjab University regains financial status
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Panjab University has quietly worked its way out of the vortex of financial crisis and increased its income by over Rs 14 crore from Rs 22 crore in the past two years. This is no mere flash in the pan and became possible consequent to series of strong administrative strokes.

The strokes range from curbing expenditure to detecting financial embezzlements/irregularities to introducing bank counters for depositing fees/funds to getting locked up funds released from either the University Grants Commission (UGC) or the Ministry of Human Resource Development or funding agencies like Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh or increasing rent of shops on campus.

Consequently, new infrastructure assets have been created in the form of hostels, houses and guest houses, besides starting of new academic courses or establishment/equipping of various departments.

All this became possible due to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, who, notwithstanding internal/external pulls and pressures neither blinked nor allowed the authority of either the Senate or Syndicate to be undermined by vested interests ever eager to trip him.

Aware that the university is under a cloud, Prof Pathak quietly worked his way asserting his authority with dignity and restraint ensuring release of grants from Punjab in time. What facilitated his efforts to make Punjab loosen its purse strings, despite its own financial crisis, was the clear message he convincingly conveyed: the university believes in austerity not extravagance, as was the practice during his predecessor’s time. Today, the university has earned a five star status from the National Assessment and Accreditation Committee.

His biggest achievement, say a cross-section of Syndic and Senators, is ‘’reforms in the examination and evaluation system and starting of new academic session from July itself’’. The other credit given to Prof. Pathak by his admirers and distractors is ‘’involving of all teachers in examinations and evaluation, though, more is required to be done’’.

But Prof Pathak, who reluctantly agreed to talk to TNS today, still believes that procurement of grants from different sources for courses, laboratories, library and buildings would go a long way in ensuring an atmosphere conducive to teaching and research. ‘’I have been able to secure more than Rs 1 crore pending with the UGC besides additional funds to the tune of Rs 5 crore. The change in the system of depositing fees and funds with the bank has also eased the situation much to the discomfort of many’’, he added quietly.

Prof Pathak has also succeeded in opening an Alumni Association in Canada, where the Governor-in-Council on the recommendations of the International Tax Directorate, Ottawa, has prescribed Panjab University for tax rebate status under Section 118.1 (Charitable Girt) Schedule VIII for Universities outside Canada.

To understand the problems of 112 affiliated colleges, Prof Pathak has visited a majority of these and he is in regular contact/ communication with them. As a result of this, he has been able to carry forward many of the proposed administrative and academic reforms, including hike in fees/funds.

The list of activities/achievements initiated by Prof Pathak in the past two years is impressive: 300-room boys’ hostel, golden jubilee guest house, sports hostel, establishment of Ambedekar Centre for socio-economic studies for weaker sections of the society etc.

Academic achievements: A centre for teaching, research in defence and strategic studies, Bharti Chair in telecommunication with a grant of Rs 50 lakh, postgraduate course in information technology at Muktsar camps, Masters in e-Commerce, MBA in IT, B.Sc. (Honours school) in computer science and applications and bio-technology, MoUs with institutions like PGI and CSIO, M.Sc. in human genome and establishment of University Institute of Engineering and Technology with four advanced post-graduate courses in micro-engineering and communication technology and BE courses in bio-technology engineering, software engineering, micro-electronics and telecommunication and IT etc.



Beware of touts: schools warn parents
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, January 1
Beware of touts — that is the warning being issued to the parents wishing to get their little ones admitted to various schools in the city. If you do not believe it, visit  some of the posh schools in the city and you will find messages pinned up on notice boards warning the parents to be careful. Admissions, these notices read, are granted strictly on the basis of merit and “nothing else”. Some unscrupulous elements may promise out-of-turn admission after charging hefty amounts, but they are merely “cheating the innocents”. Avoid such touts the notices conclude. The Principal of St John’s High School, Sector 26, Mr Pushpinder Cheema, confirms the fact.

The reason behind the issuance of such notices is not very hard to see. “Everyone just cannot get admission in good schools due to the limited number of seats, the parents also realise this,” says Principal of Sector 15 DAV School, Rakesh Sachdeva. “And if the child has not performed ‘really well’ in the lower class or is not `confident enough to face the interview’, anxiety of the parents increases. Then they start looking for recommendations. These do not work, that is another thing”.

This is not all. In today’s world of recruitment and other scams, parents get a wrong impression that merit is not enough for getting their kids admitted to these schools.

Giving details, Ms Sachdeva adds, “Little wonder, parents start calling up relatives, even acquaintances, holding influential posts, asking them to get in touch with school authorities. If they do not know the Principal or any other senior teacher directly, they ask them to find some contact. In the process, touts somehow come to know about the entire exercise”.

These touts then get in touch with gullible parents. “We have our own way of getting the job done” — touts assure the parents. That is the reason why unsuspecting parents arrange money for paying the touts,” says another school teacher Divya Sharma.

“The story that follows is almost the same,” she asserts. Touts pocket the money after delivering false promises, till the admission process continues. If the child gets admitted on his own, they claim the credit and the money. Otherwise, after the admission process is over, parents realise their mistake and start looking for the touts who, in most of the cases, go underground”.

The parents, feeling guilty of committing the offence of “paying bribe”, do not generally lodge complaint with the police. Taking advantage of the situation, touts continue with their “business”. “That’s why the school authorities have now taken up the task of warning the parents,” the teacher concludes.

(To be concluded)



Mobiles enter classrooms; discipline goes out
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, January1
A teacher is delivering a lecture in a classroom while a student in the back row fiddles with his cell phone, sending SMS to his friends outside, thus having the best of both worlds, sharing funny moments with his friends and getting his presence marked in the college at the same time. Mobile phones are one of the common sight in the colleges now-a-days.

Though carrying a mobile phone to the classroom is something frowned upon by teachers but the students are indulging in the act without any fear or hesitation. So much is the student community crazy to possess the latest communication toy, if they can not carry one legally, they are willing to do it in an underhand manner at the risk of paying a hefty fine.

“Our college is the only one which imposes a fine if a students is caught with a mobile phone while loitering in the corridors,” said one of the students from GGDSD College, Sector 32. However, the fine has not so far been able to discourage the enthusiasts as out of about 3000 students, more then 500 carry mobiles to their classes.

“We have to carry it or attend calls without being seen by our teachers,” said another student. “The ABVP party during the last college election had promised to curb this problem but unfortunately they lost and nothing came out of it,” she added.

Ask them why is it necessary to carry their mobile phones to their colleges, they give enough justification that would convince even the most cynical person. “Though the practice of carrying a mobile started as a status symbol for many, it now has become necessary for all,” said Gurpreet Singh Bedi, a student of Government College, Sector 11. “Most of the time the hostel phone is dead and it is difficult to get in touch with folk back home,” he added.

As far as the hostellers are concerned, the answer might sound logical but for day scholars it is entirely a different story. “One can be in touch with friends all the time while at the same time one can keep up to date about what’s happening in classroom without being present in one,” said a student from DAV College, Sector 10.

Though the teachers are doing their best to discourage the students from falling prey to this hi-tech fad, their preachings seem to go unheeded. “The mobile culture started in the city about three to four years back and for this both the teaching community and parents are at fault,” said a teacher from Government College for Girls, Sector 42. “Many a times even the teachers carry a mobile to the classroom and talk at the cost of the teaching hours,” he added.

Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal of GGDSD College, Sector 32, said though his college has been handling the problem with a firm hand, but at the same time he believes in counselling rather than punishment. “Students respond to counselling and thus it is up to us to point out the bad side of this latest fad. Even the faculty members should keep their mobile sets off once they enter their classrooms,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiment Ms Vimal Bhargava, Principal of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, said though being a girls college this sort of incidents were relatively less on the campus, but the staff took precautionary measures by counselling the students. “We will formulate rules when required but in the meantime instead of punishing the student, it is the parents who should be counselled, who are foolish enough to provide mobile sets to their school and college-going children,” she added. 



Veerendra is Romani Studies chief

Chandigarh, January 1
Mr Veerendra Rishi was unanimously elected director of the Indian Institute of Romani Studies here today. The post fell vacant after the death of Dr W.R. Rishi on December 2 last year.

Mr Veerendra Rishi, son of late Dr Rishi, nominated the executive members of the institute who include Mr Diwakar Pathak (vice-president-cum-executive director), Mr N.S. Brar (additional director), Mr Vijendra Sharma (secretary-general), Mr Mehar Chand (additional secretary-general), Mr Kamal Sarup Mehta (cultural secretary) and Mr Subash Papneja (executive decretary and treasurer). TNS



Film stars to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The entire cast of latest Punjabi film “Jee Aayen Nu” will be felicitated during the Mubarkan 2003, the annual cultural mela of the Punjab Lok Kala Kendra.
According to Mr Surinder Singh, president of the Lok Kala Kendra, top folk stars of Punjab will participate in the mela to be held at Dasehra Ground of SAS Nagar on January 5. The programme will start at 11 a.m. and continue until late in night.

Among those expected to participate said Mr Surinder Singh, are Harbhajan Mann, Sardool Sikander, Kamaljeet Neeru, Gursewak Mann, Ashok Masti, Sarbjeet Cheema, Palwinder Dhami, Durga Rangeela, Satwinder Buga, Ravinder Grewal, Sukhwinder Sukhi, Suchet Bala, Sunita Bhatti, Yudhvir Manak, Maninder Gill, Balbir Lehra, Bhupinder Gill-Neelam, Gurkirpal Surapuri, Gippi Grewal, Tanya Gill, Bitu Bajwa, K.B. Dhindsa, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Bhotu Shah, Kake Shah, Gurdev Dhillon and Shanti.

The Manch will honour the entire cast of Jee Aayen Nu, besides its writer Baldev Gill, Babu Singh Mann (lyrics) and Manmohan Singh (cinematographer and director).

The Manch will also honour Sardool Sikander, Ranjeet Kaur and Durga Rangeela.



Vivah 2003 to feature Ragini’s creations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Ragini Singhania, a Nagpur-based designer, whose clothes have been a part of the ITE Bridal summit at Pragati Maidan, and her work has also been showcased by FTV, will take part in Vivah 2003 to be held here from January 9 to 12.
Ragini brings to Chandigarh a classic and contemporary elegance which is unmatched in its timeless appeal under her label Attiraante.

At Vivah 2003, Ragini will showcase a whole collection of trousseau and party-wear that is for the style savvy woman of today. Experts say that her work displays a unique understanding of the contemporary twist to the traditional bridal ensemble. Her captures the essence of a woman draped in traditional weaves. Her bridal collection for the season brings in a bold and dramatic flourish showcasing an eclectic range. Her collection is a mix beautiful bridal outfits and a scintillating trousseau collection with flouncy lehengas in a narrower and shapely silhouette. Outfits with dramatic flourishes, exquisite saris, bold and elegant Indo-western outfits. The line is shimmery and sequined with intricate hand embroidery highlighting Indian art at its best.


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