Published: 20th January 2023
Odisha: Increase in number of college seats makes securing hostel accommodation difficult
Hostel seat strength has not improved even though the Higher Education department increased the number of seats in all currently offered courses
In the new academic year, securing a hostel room will be more difficult to come by than getting into a reputable state-run degree programme in a college or university in Odisha. Hostel seat strength hasn't improved even though the Higher Education department increased the number of seats in all currently offered regular courses, self-financing (SF) courses and courses being offered through PPP (public-private partnership) mode in various degree colleges and universities to increase the gross enrollment ratio. Regular students, those pursuing self-financing courses and those pursuing SF courses being delivered in PPP format are the three groups of students in higher education. Only Utkal University provides two courses in PPP mode, stated a report by The New India Express.
According to reports, the 1,024-degree colleges and 13 public universities that now have hostel space can accommodate 70% of the regular students. These degree colleges have 1,806 SF seats. Although universities provide housing for both regular and SF students, the issue arises with government degree programmes, where only regular students are given access to housing. The seating capacity of almost all regular courses has been expanded to either 64 or 96 seats each for the new academic year, while the number of SF seats at the PG level has roughly doubled. Major universities in the state currently have close to seven or eight SF courses as a result of the Higher Education Department's decision to start approving requests to create additional courses or increase seating. Previously, the number ranged between two and three.
A vice-chancellor, who asked to remain anonymous, said that although the goal is to attract more students to higher education, little attention has been given to providing housing facilities for them. Unless the parent institution has extra hostel places available, the private parties that are permitted to establish SF courses do not consider student housing options. Even 30% of ordinary students now do not have access to hostel accommodations. Even regular students are forced to choose mess or rented accommodations due to the increasing seat strength, he added stated The New Indian Express report.
Rohit Pujari, Higher Education Minister, said that every college that needs additional hostel seats would be provided infrastructure grants for the purpose. But, the institution has to show that the course will continue for several years and not be stopped within a year or five years, he said.