HYDERABAD: The stand-off between the students and the management over the non-recognition of the University of Hyderabad’s integrated master’s course in nursing sciences by the Indian Nursing School (INC) finally ended on Monday following a written assurance from Vice-Chancellor Prof Ramakrishna Ramaswamy that he would put the best foot forward to resolve the issue.
The students, who had been boycotting classes for the last one week, enforced a bandh across the campus yesterday morning and staged a protest in front of the administration building prompting the Vice-Chancellor to intervene.
The Vice-Chancellor (VC) and his team took pains to persuade the protestors and explain their point of view. In an almost two-hour question and answer session, the Vice-Chancellor explained: “The INC was not an issue till 2011. We have submitted an application (for recognition) in January 2011. I assure you that we will do our best and present the best case from our side when the INC team comes to the university for inspection.” However, in the same breath, he pointed out that the matter of INC recognition was not in his hands.
Dean of Life Sciences and former coordinator of the master’s course Prof M Ramanadham clarified that the five-year integrated course was introduced primarily for students keen on research, teaching and academics. It was not introduced to produce nurses, he insinuated.
With the students demanding convincing answers, the Vice-Chancellor assured them that a team from the university would be despatched to negotiate with the INC and an INC team would visit the campus soon. He said he would be able to give a clear picture by March 28. “The first step of applying for recognition has been completed. When we have the quality and infrastructure to run the course, we should get the recognition. We have also applied for retrospective recognition, which means students currently pursuing the course will also be considered. But until we get recognized, we cannot comment on it,” said Dr Geetha K Vemuganthi, Dean of the School of Medical Sciences which teaches the course.
It became clear to the 80-odd students, who are taking the course at the School of Medical Sciences, that the university can only do so much for the present. Despite having called off their week-long stir, they remained unconvinced by the written assurance of the VC and appeared worried about their job prospects.
“We become trained nurses only with an RN number given by the INC. What is the point of doing a five-year course if we do not pass out as qualified nurses?” asked Prashanthi, a third-year student in the programme. “When will the INC team visit the university for inspection? What if they visit after next April by which time the first batch will pass out?” wondered Prakash Kodali, her classmate. Adding fuel to fire are rumours that the course might be dropped. While addressing this question, Dr Geetha gave a rather cryptic reply to the students.
“Why would the course be cancelled if we get recognition? We are awaiting a response from the council. We will take a new batch only after receiving the recognition.”
The anxious creases on the students’ foreheads only intensified upon hearing her. But for the present, they don’t seem to have any choice except to trust the university’s word.