EDUCATION TRIBUNE

University Watch
Spreading education in rural areas
Chander Parkash

W
hile
on the one hand, the Punjabi University earned laurels by giving a significant boost to the spread of education in rural areas, on the other hand, last year, it hogged limelight for wrong reasons also.

Campus NoteS
Charan Singh remembered
The students, teachers and other staff members of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, remembered the late Prime Minister, Ch Charan Singh, on his 104th birth anniversary at a function organised on the university campus recently.

 

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University Watch
Spreading education in rural areas

Chander Parkash

While on the one hand, the Punjabi University earned laurels by giving a significant boost to the spread of education in rural areas, on the other hand, last year, it hogged limelight for wrong reasons also.

The university administration was appreciated for opening of five neighbourhood campus for spreading education in rural areas. It also got the honour of becoming the first university in state where the percentage of rural students has gone up significantly. However, the management attracted criticism for allowing the use its campus by politico-religious leaders to attack former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

An avoidable controversy arose when the Vice Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, first proposed a “tankha” and subsequently announced the same for Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar, President, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee on October 26, 2006 while attending a function organised by Department of Gurmat Sangeet.

The Vice Chancellor also hit the headlines when he was summoned by a local court in connection with the defamation suit filed against him by a dismissed employee of the University, Mr Rajesh Kumar. Mr Boparai also faced criticism for closing the M. Phil course in Religious Study.

On the positive side, keeping its pace intact, the Punjabi University has managed to make a mark again in the field of education in 2006 by making it easier for rural students to study. It has opened up five neighbourhood campus, and added a number of facilities at its campus in Patiala to make it more relevant in academics as well as in its related fields.

It has also earned the credit of setting up the first rural university of Punjab, Guru Gobind Singh Rural University, at Talwandi Sabo—known as Guru ki Kashi. The university held two convocations in one calendar year-a rare achievement.

Not only this, the Punjabi university authorities have been running Yadavindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo and University College of Engineering in its campus here for imparting technical education to the ‘have nots’ of the society living in the rural areas. However, the students studying at the Yadavindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo, have failed to produce desirable results so far.

The contribution of employees of the university is worth appreciation as the teaching community and ‘A’ class officer’s have consented to donate one percent of their salaries for the education of rural students.

To fulfil the dreams of those who failed to get admission in university in the first instance due to various reasons, the number of seats in almost all its departments were increased resulting into significant increase in strength of the students. It is now 8,600, up from 7,000 last year and 3,600 when Mr Boparai took over as Vice-Chancellor in 2002.

Punjabi University authorities have also inked MOU’s with foreign universities for student and faculty exchange programmes to enable its students and faculty members to have an international exposure.

Other achievements made by the Punjabi University in 2006 included the release of first volume of Encyclopaedia of Sikh Literature, the English version of Gurushabad Ratankar Mahan Kosh by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha. Another important book Croatian and Sanskrit: Common Heritage of Words, written by Prof G.S. Rayall, was released by Croatian Ambassador Dino Debeljuh. The university published total 71 books in 2006.

To promote its agenda of Punjabi language and culture, the dream project of Punjabi University, the Punjabi-Punjabi dictionary, to be prepared on the pattern of Oxford dictionaries, was undertaken this year by the Department of Punjabi Development.

The Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture, Punjabi University in partnership with university of Manchester, UK has bagged an international research project titled Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi Transliteration Solution for Networking.

This centre also bagged a Rs 36 lakh research grant for the development of commercial Gurmukhi Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system.

The artists of Department of Theatre and Television achieved a major success in fighting the evils of female foeticide and drug addiction by staging plays to generate a people’s movement against the same. They also produced a play on the issue connected to farmers’ suicide in Punjab. To add to this, the students of psychology department along with faculty members reached the doorsteps of rural people with solid programs to remove ignorance and superstitions from their minds by conducting counselling sessions and holding camps in far flung areas of Punjab against drug addiction.

The Gurmat Sangeet department made sincere and fruitful efforts for the revival of string instruments and various ragas by organising Gurmat Sangeet Utsav and various Gurmat samagams. Four students of this department were selected for performing Kirtan at Sri Harminder Sahib, Amritsar. To popularise original and authentic tradition of Gurmat Sangeet at global level, syndicate of the university approved the creation of kirtan repertoire named Gurmat Sangeet Taksal in Gurmat Sangeet department. The setting up of an archive of music was another important development.

The Physics Department has set up a parallel processing computer laboratory for advance computations under DSA scheme.

To cater to the needs of students of correspondent studies, the Correspondence Courses Department launched its own website that will provide online information to the students sitting at far away places.

The department of Physiotherapy, after its mobile OPD, succeeded in opening up an OPD wing in the university heath centre with ultra modern equipment’s and techniques.

To accommodate the increasing strength of students, the university authorities have laid the foundation stone of two new hostel buildings during this year.

The university has conferred an honorary degree of Professor of Punjabi, Urdu and Persian upon Bhai Lakshvir Singh Nabhvi in the department of religious studies for his significant contribution to the three languages. The late Bhai Avtar Singh Raagi was conferred the fellowship for 2005-06 for his contributions in Gurmat Sangeet and traditional kirtan teaching.

For “selfless and untiring efforts to empower poor, deprived and left out sections of the society through education,” the Sikh Community of Australia through their Singh Sabha conferred the Bhai Ghania Award upon Mr Boparai.

Prof M.S. Saini, Department of Zoology, got E K Janaki National Award for his valuable research in the conservation environment. A Physics Department faculty member, Prof K. L. Allanadi got the prestigious Bharat Jyoti award for 2006. Apart from achievements of teaching faculty, Dr Rajesh Ranjan, a scholar, department of religious studies won Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Sammana for his academic research.

The University also enjoyed the honour of holding national and international seminars, conferences, workshops and other programmes in which eminent scholars from India and abroad participated.

The 23rd International Punjabi Vikas conference, XXII National Conference of Indian Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science, National Seminar on Law in India, National Symposium on Cyber Forensics and Computer Crimes and National symposium on Biological Anthropology are the academic programmes organised by the various departments in this year.

Faculty members of the university were also invited to various international workshops, seminars to present their papers on various subjects.

In cultural activities, the students of Punjabi University managed to secure second place in North Zone inter-varsity youth festival. In sports, the university, for the first time, won the men’s overall inter-varsity championship. Punjabi University has, as of now, mustered 14,000 points for winning overall inter-university championships.

The year 2006 ended with the Punjabi University hosting the World Punjabi Conference, which laid the agenda for the future functioning of World Punjabi Centre. Again, delegates from all over world participated in the conference.

Mr Boparai said that he was firm on keeping the pace of development of the university intact. Giving the credit of fruitful year to the employees of the university and to the rural people of Malwa region, he said that the proper implementation of the programmes initiated in this year would be the major focus in the year 2007.

While promising to impart quality education, he said that the emphasis would be on the best arrangements for modern and technical education with affordable fee structure for the rural students.

Campus NoteS
Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar
Charan Singh remembered

The students, teachers and other staff members of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, remembered the late Prime Minister, Ch Charan Singh, on his 104th birth anniversary at a function organised on the university campus recently.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.C. Katyal, garlanded a bust of Ch Charan Singh and paid rich tributes to the late leader. The HAU Registrar, Dr R.S. Dalal, the Director (Extension Education), Dr R.K. Malik, and other senior officials, students and faculty members also paid floral tributes to him.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Katyal observed that the ideology of the late Prime Minister was relevant even today to all those directly or indirectly related to agriculture. The Vice-Chancellor exhorted the faculty members as well as students to derive inspiration from the late leader and rededicate themselves to the service of farmers.

Condolence meeting

A pall of gloom descended upon the HAU campus following the news of university scientist Dr K.K. Yadav, his wife and teenaged son being killed in a road accident. Dr Yadav (43), who was serving as an animal nutritionist at the College of Animal Sciences of HAU, was going to his native village Rajpura in Mahendergarh district when the mishap took place. Dr Yadav's wife Sudesh (40) and son Mayank (15) were also killed in the car accident.

A condolence meeting was later organised on the university premises, at which the HAU fraternity expressed deep grief on the tragic incident. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.C.Katyal, said Dr Yadav's demise was a big setback for the university.

The president of HAU Teachers Association, Dr Ashok Yadav, Dean (Animal Sciences), Dr Narender Singh, Head of the Department of Animal Nutrition, Dr R.K.Yadav, and the Ateli MLA, Mr Naresh Yadav, also expressed their condolences.

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Refresher course

A refresher course on the Contemporary Issues in Commerce and Management concluded at GNDU recently. As many as 29 teachers from various universities participated in the three-week refresher course organised by the Academic Staff College of the University.

Dr. R.S. Bawa, Registrar, gave away the certificates to the participants at the Valedictory Function. Dr. Bawa said that the teachers should play a true role in the current scenario of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation. He further said that teachers should prepare themselves too to face the challenges of globalisation. The teacher participants also presented their views on this occasion.

Contributed by Sunit Dhawan and P K Jaiswar
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