BHUBANESWAR: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has withdrawn the much-awaited Community College Scheme from Odisha. Delay on the part of Department of Higher Education (DHE) in finalising infrastructure and curriculum for these colleges has cost Odisha the scheme which aimed at increasing employability of students pursuing higher education.
The scheme would have helped Odisha Government in providing skill development training to one million youths in next four years to drive its economic growth.
Of 200 community colleges planned in the country by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) during 12th Five Year Plan, the UGC had sanctioned seven for Odisha. Last year, the MHRD asked State Governments to identify 80 colleges under the UGC and 20 polytechnics under the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to set up 100 community colleges in the first phase.
Accordingly, the Odisha Government identified Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna; Maharaja Purna Chandra College, Baripada; Dharanidhar Autonomous College, Keonjhar; Fakir Mohan Autonomous College, Balasore; Khallikote Autonomous College, Ganjam; Government Autonomous College, Rourkela and Vikram Dev College, Jeypore for the purpose.
Subsequently, the MHRD released `17.5 lakh each for the autonomous colleges in Berhampur, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Balasore and Baripada to start the course, while funds for Government Autonomous College in Rourkela and Vikram Dev College at Jeypore were yet to be released.
Sources said delay in setting up Board of Studies and Board of Management for community colleges by principals of the parent colleges was the primary reason behind UGC decision.
UGC’s expert committee, which reviewed the progress made by these colleges in implementation of the scheme last month found that the institutions failed to meet the criteria as they had neither constituted the Board of Studies and Board of Management nor selected a project implementing agency.
The DHE, on the other hand, clarified that Phailin and the Model Code of Conduct for General Elections delayed the preparatory work for implementation of the scheme.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Secretary Gagan Dhal has urged the UGC Chairman, Ved Prakash, to relook into the decision.
■ Of 200 community colleges planned in the country by MHRD, the UGC had sanctioned seven for Odisha
■ UGC’s expert committee found that the colleges failed to meet the criterion