RUSA offers way out for government colleges with basic infrastructure
For many of the government first grade colleges in Karnataka, struggling with the most basic of infrastructure, the Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) offers a glimmer of hope and the promise of improved facilities.
Little surprise then that the funds of the RUSA are regarded as a game changer, and a means to end the chronic lack of appropriate infrastructure which dogs not just rural colleges, but those in urban areas as well. Staff in such institutions complain about inadequate toilets, shoddy classrooms and hostel facilities.
As a professor at a first grade college in Bangalore explained, “Colleges set up after 2006-07 do not have basic infrastructure yet. There are several colleges in Bangalore running on the premises of a school, functioning between 7 am and 11 am, while still others operate out of rented buildings.”
As many as 180 colleges were set up in 2006-07 in the State. At present, there are 20 government first grade colleges in the Bangalore Urban district and seven in Bangalore Rural. There are over 2.8 lakh students studying in the 359 government first grade colleges in all across the State. The Department of Collegiate Education (DCE) has announced that another 47 colleges will be set up during 2014-15.
Hectic preparations are being made by the colleges to draft effective proposals to tap the required funds. The colleges have to submit their proposals by December 31.
The RUSA could have a significant effect on these colleges for many reasons. While the lack of infrastructure is not the only factor affecting dropout rate, colleges that have a majority of rural students believe that improved infrastructure would contribute towards retaining students in the course. For instance, providing hostels to students on campus, would go a long way to ensure that students do not quit the programme halfway.
A lecturer at the government first grade college at Bidar said the college had many students from rural areas for whom the daily commute was a financial burden.
“If we have a hostel on the campus, these students need not worry about travel expenses,” he said. While this was one aspect, provision of other basic facilities such as toilets, was also among their major concerns. They had more than 1,000 students studying in their college and they needed at least five more toilets, the lecturer said, adding that they were also short of 12 classrooms.
The RUSA also promises funds for those seeking to improve existing facilities. According to Principal Grade I, M H Kodandaramaiah of KR Nagar Government First Grade College, their proposal for the RUSA asks for money to build a separate library block and an auditorium. “The college would also invest in smart boards in classrooms and strengthen an online library facility,” he added.
On the part of the Department of Collegiate Education (DCE), efforts were on to strengthen the administration at first grade colleges, said DCE director Bhagylakshmi.
She expressed the opinion that the appointment of regular principals would contribute in the improvement of the situation. Regular principals were yet to be appointed for more than 150 first grade colleges. As far as the share of funds for every college was concerned, the programme is still evolving and there will be no stipulated or mechanic allocation of funds under the RUSA. “It depends on the requirement of the college, their proposals and how they plan to utilise it. The amount is not pre-decided,” she said.
The department is to meet on December 26 to evolve a department plan to be submitted to the State government.