Courses removed from Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women will be added online again next year: Secretary says after student protests

Access to aided courses has been revoked for the students of the polytechnic institution, and while the lack of faculty and funds seem to be the issue, there are a few peculiar speculations in the ai
Pic: Express
Pic: Express

The four courses that were converted or dropped by the government-aided Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women College in Telangana, will not be available on the state's admission portal this year, but will be reinstated for the next, said KNPW Secretary Dhiraj Jaiswal. Speaking to Edexlive, he said that admissions have begun on the online portal DOST this year, and the four courses that were removed will not be available to students. They will, however, "be cleared once this round of admission ends, and will be available from the next academic year."

The students and alumni of the college have been protesting against the college's decision to convert three of its seven aided courses to self-financed courses, and remove the other four entirely. The agitation had been on for over a month, and it has been a series of blame-games, centring mostly around the fact that the college, which is governed by the Exhibition Society of Telangana, simply doesn't have the funds to pay its contract lecturers. The issue also has a slight political tinge to it with the ABVP Telangana State Technical Cell Convener, Thota Srinivas lending his support to the students' version of events.

The students also claimed that there was an attempt to convert the college into a private institution, with an NOC being sent to the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University to facilitate this process. This has not been certified either by the college or JNTU-H and remains speculation.

Edexlive got in touch with the co-ordinator of the Save Kamala Nehru Movement, Swathi Maniputri. A graduate of the 2009-12 batch, Swathi, now a freelance architect, says that the management's decision to remove courses such as Architectural Assistantship, Garment Technology, Hotel Management and Catering Technology and Pharmacy from the list of aided courses will prove detrimental to the girls from low-income families. "A bachelor's degree in these subjects costs lakhs, and students from low income family groups simply do not have the resources to study them. Taking them off the list of aided courses denies these students the right to acquire the skills in these high-paying fields. Even after two years of intermediate, coaching is usually necessary to get into a good bachelors programme for achitecture. That is not something we can afford," says Swathi.

After much resistance from the students, during which they also spoke to Telangana's Minister of Education, Sabita Indira Reddy, the college management and the Exhibition Society finally revoked the decision, and submitted a letter to the Education Secretary, Sandeep Kumar Sultania to reinstate the aided courses.

However, when we contacted KNPCW's Secretary, Dhiraj Jaiswal, he stuck to his guns. "We simply don't get enough applicants for those four courses for it to be viable for us to continue offering them. We don't have the funds to pay for the faculty. We haven't even had faculty for the architecture course for the past two years. It is the government's job to appoint lecturers to our college, and they haven't been doing so. And therefore, we saw no point in continuing with those courses," said the Secretary, adding that they had absolutely no intentions of switching the institution to a private engineering college. "It is simply not possible," he said.

In July, speaking with Express, the director of the Exhibition Society of Telangana, Dr Gangadhar Rao had claimed, "Last year, the Commissioner of Technical Education informed us that they are also going to stop minimal funding for the contract lecturers. However, we are forced to pay GHMC taxes and electricity bills for the government-aided technical college. Since then we have been trying to reach out to officials to restore the teaching staff so that we can continue the diploma courses."

The lack of funds, and the lack of proactive measures from the government to keep this 60-year-old institution running has somehow been muffled in the loud tug-of-war between the students and the management, both of whom are simply trying to make the best out of the meagre means provided to them.

The question of who won does pop up now and then.

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