KOCHI: St Teresa’s College is undertaking a major project involving Rs 25 crore to buy about 35 cents of prime land near its Science Block in the heart of the city to build a seven-storey building to start new courses, but there is a big problem - a stricture to its teaching staff to contribute at least a month’s salary for the project has not gone down well with the teaching community.
According to a section of teachers, the project itself is too big in size and demanding a month’s salary (Rs 1 lakh for associate professors and Rs 50,000 for assistant professors) was not the solution as even if every teacher contributes, it would fetch only a maximum of Rs 1 crore.
“Some 10 years ago, teachers contributed for the construction of the auditorium, but at that time money was collected assuring refund without interest. This time, the college is demanding a minimum of a month’s salary as non-refundable contribution,” said a professor, on condition of anonymity. The college could very well utilise its nearly 3.5-acre land near NAD, Kalamassery, for the project rather than purchasing this plot at sky-high rate, she said.
However, Sr Vinitha, director of St Teresa’s College, rubbished the allegations. “We have not demanded compulsory contribution from teachers. We have just given a request asking them to contribute whatever they can for the project, which is for the betterment of the college,” she told ‘Express’.
According to her, the expansion is to start new streams such as BCom, BMS and BVoC. Sr Vinitha said she expects the college’s alumni to contribute generously for the project.
“This is the first time in 80 years of the college’s history that we are reaching out to our alumni (nearly 65,000 members). The college has made a request for contributions through the Facebook page St Teresa’s College (Official Group), where several former students have come forward to contribute funds for the project, Sr Vinitha said.
When contacted, T P Sreenivasan, government representative on St Teresa’s College’s governing council, said there was nothing wrong in the college finding a way to fund its expansion as there is no government support. “However, contributions from teachers or anyone for that matter should be voluntary,” he felt. Sr Vinitha said a big contribution for the project would come from the management and well-wishers, besides parents. “Earlier, we were planning to name the new block as ‘Alumni Block’. But now, with the expected contribut ion from others, including teachers, parents and well-wishers, we are looking for a new name,” she said.