There seems to be no rationale behind the lop-sided and half-baked idea
of setting up Jagat Guru Nanak Dev Punjab State Open University in Patiala, in the wake of the fiscal plight of the existing State Universities, starving for lack of adequate funding by the State Government.
The alarming exodus of Punjab youth to chase their ‘foreign dreams’ abroad is not being addressed by the State Government, with the alacrity it deserves. An estimated 1,50,000 students from Punjab got their Visas approved for Canada followed by Australia, UK, New Zealand and USA in the year 2018 only .
Most of the educational institutions in Punjab, including the State Universities, are grappling with the financial crisis, emanating out of the sharp fall in admissions in various academic courses.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Canadian Government alone has listed 250 colleges where students from Punjab can get admissions and this opening has given fillip to the enormity of exodus of youth from Punjab.
Notably the Punjab has lost Rs. 27000 Crores
in 2018, which the parents of Punjabi Students have deposited as fees with the various foreign institutions to send their wards abroad, this is beside the loot by the agents.
Alarming rate of exodus of Punjabi youth is also causing demographic crisis
in Punjab, which does not seem to be a matter of worry for Capt. Amarinder Singh.
The Punjab Government should have appointed a ‘High power review committee of top academicians’ for the systematic review of the academic performance of all the State universities including the technical universities, having the top technocrats on board.
The flagrant idea to set up a new University at Patiala must have been floated by an unemployed pseudo scholar just to cleverly grab the opportunity to become its first Vice Chancellor.
It is high time to study the deep rooted menace, as to what is ailing our education system. Even the school education requires fundamental recast in the wake of the challenges, our young generations are confronted with. Rapid growth in the number of Private universities in Punjab has practically paralyzed the State Universities.
Unfortunately the politicians of all the hues were carried away by the greed of the commercial profiteering and absurdly preferred to make hasty and hefty fiscal gains, rather than strengthening the State Universities of Punjab for imparting quality education in various academic streams.
It is worth mentioning here that currently all the State universities are marred with huge budgetary deficits and the State finance department has miserably failed to bail out the existing State Universities. Then why establish another University with your empty coffers, in the name of Jagat Guru Nanak to blemish the divine name of Guru Nanak, when you are not in a position to guarantee the fiscal providence for the new commemorative University?
Even the Guru Granth Sahib World University set up by the SGPC is currently facing a huge fiscal crisis. The SGPC instead of financing the university to offset its fiscal burden preferred to spend Guru Ki Golak
extravagantly for their narrow political interests in the name 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
As per my insinuate guess and most presumably there must be an unemployed pseudo scholar, floating around Capt. Amarinder Singh for want of profitable job, who must have floated the flagrant Idea for the quick fascination of the Chief Minister. Thereafter he must have lobbied its exaltedness with some of the ‘Crony Ministers’ of Captain’s Cabinet, to set up a new University at Patiala, just to cleverly grab the opportunity to become its first Vice Chancellor. The Chief Minister without even a diminutive application of mind got captivated with the idea and allowed his cabinet to approve it.
If at all the State Government is serious to promote the open and distant learning skills in Punjab, there is an ample scope to fit in the idea within the existing infrastructure of the State Universities but the entire metaphor of the idea has to be reshaped, in order to incorporate the same in the existing modules of learning.
(*The author is a former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and a politician celebrated for his grasp on legislative affairs.)
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