Sanskrit education in Odisha suffers: Struggles of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University

Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Rabindra Kumar Panda said the state government has been informed about the poor state of affairs in the university
Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University | (Pic: Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University)
Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University | (Pic: Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University)

Sanskrit education in Odisha has hit a roadblock. The four-decade-old Shree Jagannath Sanskrit University — the only government-run university of the state at Puri — is functioning with just around half of its sanctioned faculty positions and almost all its key non-teaching posts are lying vacant.

With the existing faculty members forced to juggle teaching and administrative work, the university, despite having the potential, has not conducted any research or published papers and undertaken any new projects in the last five years. And this is also the reason it is unable to participate in another round of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation although its B+ grade expired in 2016.

In fact, the ninth convocation of the university was held after a gap of five years on July 7 this year where, certificates of over 10,000 students of batches between 2018 and 2022 were given away. University officials said there is another batch of 10,000 certificates that is awaiting disbursal.

The university offers teaching in eight PG departments along with a BEd (Shiksha Shastri) course. It also affiliates 180 Sanskrit colleges including Upashastri (Plus II) and Shastri (Plus III) colleges across the state. Against the sanctioned 45 teaching posts (five in each department), there are 25 faculty in position and the rest are guest faculty. Two departments — Dharma Shastra and Jyotirvigyan — have no permanent faculty members.

Why no recruitment? 
Officials of the institution informed although the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) had floated an advertisement for 20 positions, recruitment could not take place because of the Supreme Court's stay on Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act, 2020. "Even arranging guest faculty is becoming difficult now because no good candidate with PhD or NET is ready to teach at the government remuneration rate of Rs 25,000 a month," said an official.

As if this is not enough, the university currently has no controller of examination, comptroller of finance, section officer, development officer, engineer and even computer operators. The examination section has no staff and there is no librarian to manage the university library which has 70,000 books and 200 manuscripts. Against the 100-odd non-teaching posts, the institution has only 18.

Officials speak
"Unlike other Sanskrit universities in the country, the normal day-to-today administrative work here is being done by the existing faculty which is why they do not get time to conduct research or publish papers," added the official.

This has also been impacting timely conduct of examinations and revision of syllabus in the 180 colleges affiliated to the university. Many of the colleges are also functioning with just one to five faculty members.

Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Rabindra Kumar Panda said the state government has been informed about the poor state of affairs in the university.

All key non-teaching positions vacant

Existing 25 teachers face admin work burden

Low remuneration keeps guest faculty away

Exams delayed; no semester system in affiliated colleges yet

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