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Mon, 14 Oct 2019

Northeast Today

Manipur University Crisis Affects Students

Manipur University Crisis Affects Students
December 21
11:52 2018

November Issue, Statewide Manipur

Jeijei Newme reports about the crisis that the Manipur University has been hit with…

First Words

Pinky Devi (name changed) had set herself a beautiful dream to pursue a doctorate degree in science (Sc.D) in a reputed university abroad once she acquired her master degree in chemistry. She had prepared herself with all the necessaries required for the process, except she hasn’t given her master final semester exam yet. The fault is not hers, but because of the ongoing (over four months) crisis in Manipur University.

Pinky is a student of the Fourth Semester in Manipur University Chemistry department and was supposed to give the final examination of her master 4th semester in June 2018, but due to the ongoing crisis in the university, she could not finish her master degree and her future and dream remains uncertain and shattered.

Weary of waiting for normalcy in the university, she is now spending time with her sister in Mumbai, don’t know exactly what to do with her life. She is stuck whether to help in family’s financial stabilization by looking for a job or go further studies, but without a master degree certificate, she could do none. At the same time, she is also worried when will the examination be conducted as she will need time to fly back to Imphal to give her papers.

“Everything is uncertain, my future is in blurred lines, unable to connect the dots” she gave her genuine complaint while talking to Northeast Today.

Pinky is one of the victims of thousands of students who have been affected by the crisis of the university since May 30.

Going Deep

Manipur University is not at its best shape for the last four months with the ongoing agitation by constituents of Manipur University demanding the ouster of incumbent vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Adya Prasad Pandey for charges of dereliction of duties. The constituents of the varsity are Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff’s Association (MUSA).

Their demand is no longer an internal issue but a state issue as the hands of state government and the ministry of human resource development are constantly seen in the various development of the crisis so far.

The post of vice chancellor for this university has become the hot seat and with the demand of Pandey as vice chancellor, three have taken the seat, with the newest one by the former chief secretary of the state, Jarnail Singh on October 10. Before him were Prof.Viswanath, who took charge as VC in-charge from August 18 until Pandey’s 30 days leave expired. Pandey after the leave came back to take his charge but the agitation by the MU community resumed so, the ministry of HRD suspended Pandey until the issue is solved. Prof. K. Yugindro Singh was then appointed by Pandey to take the charge of VC in his absence, but as soon as he took charge, the situation went bad to worse with the arrest of around 89 students and 6 teachers over an FIR lodged by him.

Pinkyinformed Northeast Today that before giving their final semester examination, the agitation started and so the examination could not be conducted on time. After 85 long days of agitation, the university reopened on August 18 after the stakeholders signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA). The MoA was signed by constituents of MU (i.e., MUSU, MUTA and MUSA), state government led by chief minister and ministry of human resource development (MHRD).

During this reopening of the varsity, results of some departments were declared and preparations started for commencing the unfinished business of conducting examinations for those departments who haven’t.

Pinky recalled that it was in the first week of September that the exam was proposed to be conducted. However, it got postponed again owing to fresh turns of agitation.

“A new examination routine has been circulated lately in social media of our class (MA final semester chemistry department). But it is likely to be cancelled again, as the head of the department had denied the permission noting that until and unless the arrested teachers on fateful September 20 night are released, the exam cannot be conducted,” she said.

“We want to be in our straight path with no artificial blocking on our way to making a career. But now, nothing is uncertain and we hope that the crisis gets settled as soon as possible,” she contended.

Another Sorry Tale

Another research scholar in the economics department (who does not want to be named) was due to finish her course said that much valuable time has been lost with this crisis happening in the university. She was left only to give her final report after consulting her guide, but as the teacher took an active part in the agitation, she could not meet him and it is likely that she had to extend her PhD another year.

She complained that “for students till master level, it is the university and the teachers that worry for the students in completing syllabus and making sure that the students pass in the examination. But in the research level, it has become different, it is all personal effort and time and once that flow of the effort is disturbed, it is really hard to get back to the flow”.

The research scholar also mentioned that the researchers have fears whether the report prepared by them this year will be still valid after a year with the postponement by this crisis.

“I had a friend whose topic was on value-added tax (VAT). He will have a hard time coping up preparing the same report next year as the tax itself is not valid anymore,” she informed.

Raged over the loss of precious times by this nearly five months deadlock in the university, the scholar urged the students and teachers locked in this drama, to take matters happening in the university intellectually, thinking of its outcomes and consequences, and then take a proper stand which the university solely runs for, moulding an educated individual and society.

Conclusion

There are other thousands of students who are helpless and weary at the same time for their future as MU lost its aura of providing an academic atmosphere for the last four months. For now, all eyes are set on the newly appointed pro-vice chancellor, Jarnail Singh. Six days after his appointment, he had finished the procedure of freeing the arrested six teachers and 89 students from September 20-21 intervening night.

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