KOCHI: Education entrepreneur Mathew P A, who had been battling an adamant Kerala University Syndicate for the last three years which steadfastly refused to grant affiliation to an arts and science college set up by him in his native Punalur, has received a major shot in the arm.
The Kerala High Court, in an order, has asked the Kerala University to issue conditional affiliation to Mathew’s Grace International Academy, situated at Musavarikunnu in Kollam. The court order has come as a major boost for Mathew who has invested a considerable amount of money and time to establish the Academy only to be sabotaged by the CPM-led KU Syndicate citing one reason or the other.
If there are no more hiccups, Grace International Academy can start admission procedures for the next academic year, as per the High Court order. The High Court said the Grace International Academy “will be at liberty to prepare themselves for providing admission to the courses concerned for the academic year 2018-19”. The court has asked the Kerala University to grant conditional affiliation immediately and the final confirmation before December 31.
The High Court also asked the Kerala University to grant ‘reasonable time’ to the Grace Academy and Mathew for the completing the building work. The HC also rebuffed the varsity’s contention the proposed Arts and Science College in the self-financing sector did not have sufficiently qualified faculty members. The Court ruled it was ‘prima facie satisfied’ with the details of the faculty members submitted and the “steps taken by the College for appointing suitably qualified persons as staff members”.
As reported by Express on August 7, Mathew had been literally forced to run from pillar to post to realise his dream venture for the last three or so years, after having obtained his PhD from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and with over 15 years’ teaching experience in reputed institutions including as Head of Department (Economics) at Christ University in Bengaluru. He has also put in `9 crore (including the `7 crore which is the land value of his five-acre property for the institution), but the University Syndicate has been denying him the nod.
It is the change of political guard and the incumbent LDF Government’s ensuing policy shift which had come in the way of the academy established by Mathew’s Palakunnathu Foundation. No college has been established in Mathew’s hometown Punalur in the last 50 years, and he is hopeful the High Court order will finally put an end to the struggle he has gone through in the last three years.
“The process of setting up the college has been onerous and quite time-consuming. We started the process in August 2015 when we submitted an application to the Kerala University with all the mandatory requirements like title deed for the five acres of land in the name of the agency which proposes to run the college, project report, mandatory disclosures and a fee for processing the application,” said Mathew, who is the managing trustee of Palakunnathu Foundation.
“It took the varsity several months to scrutinise the documents and dispatch a team of syndicate members to physically inspect the land and vet the records. On the basis of an inspection conducted, the varsity usually issues a letter of consent which should have been provided in January 2016. But due to internal problems and Assembly elections it was issued only in July 2016, almost a month after the admission process for degree courses in Kerala University began,” said Mathew.