Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kiang Nangbah Govt. College merely an heirloom!

It is the oldest institution of higher education in the district and it is the only government college in Jaintia hills, but the oldest institute of higher learning is yet to see the better light of the day. It was started as a night college by the people of Jowai who dreamed and work hard to usher higher education in the district and it was in 1967 under the able leadership of late HE Pohshna that the college was recognized by the Governement of the then composite state of Assam. Being the government run college, Kiang Nangbah Government College is also the only college which caters to the need of the poor and the needy section of the population in the district.

For reason best known to the Education department of Meghalaya, it is rather ironic that in its 42 odd years of existence; only on rare occasion that this premiere institution of higher education had a full-fledged principal. Most of the time the college is being run by acting principal and when one acting principal retires another acting principal was appointed to succeed the former. So how do we expect an institution sans a proper head will be able to cater to the requirement of the young students of the district?

I was a student of the college and I am now a parent of a student who studies in the college and it is rather disheartening to see that the college has not seen any improvement from the way it was 20 years ago. The college still runs the only three compulsory stream of Arts, Science and Commerce which has been in existence since we were students. When higher education is improving and emphasis on job oriented education is stressed and new field of study is being introduce almost every day, this college is still being run in the old run of the mill system. Not even new subjects or department were introduced in the college. The last Minister of higher education who visited this college has promised the moon for this college but unfortunately his MPA government fell before he even try to reach to the moon. The boss in the education department has a good intention of starting Geology department in the college being the only Government college in Jaintia hills a district with huge mineral deposits, but as luck would have it the Geology department which was started in the college now function with just one lecturer.

The College is yet to have its own Library building and the so called library is being accommodated in the class rooms there by denying the college necessary class rooms. Many private colleges have been able to avail funds from the various schemes provided by the UGC, NEC and other funding agencies to construct their own library building, one wonder why has the Education department not been able to do the same for this college? It is also pity that a college of repute does not even have a qualified librarian for so long. The former librarian was on a study leave for four years and the college library function without a librarian and when the librarian joined her post in the early part of 2008 she resigned after remaining in the job for few months and till now the college library function without a librarian. Technically the college does not have a librarian for more than five years. Now the pertinent question is who is responsible for this and how did the college manage to maintain its affiliation to the University in spite of its failure to oblige to this one very important criterion for affiliation. Tura Government College is said to have a separate library building equipped with a librarian and staff and stocks of books and we still envy and blame our Garo brethrens instead of trying to emulate their achievements.

There is no dearth of fund for developing this college if the power that is; is willing to do so, but sadly nobody seems to be bothered about this college. None of the 7 MLAs of the district has ever raised any question about this college in the Assembly. The last MLA ma S. Mulieh has not even visit the college in the two terms that he was elected from the prestigious 7 Jowai constituency. And what has the erudite Dr. R.C. Laloo done for the college except to change its name from Jowai Government College to Kiang Nangbah Government College? During his last election campaign amidst howling crowd Dr. Laloo raised hue and cry about the college but they remain mere rhetoric till now. One year has elapsed and ma Roi is yet to visit the college which his father was incidentally the founder principal. In 1983 when ma Roi first contested in the election, I was a student then and I still remember him mentioning that his one aspirations was to complete what his father was not able to do so, after winning a hat trick and going for his fourth term now, ma Roi is yet to try improve this one legacy that his father has left.

The saddest part is the cancellation of all classes for the morning shift in the college. The reason was the mass resignation of the lecturer of the college because the education department failed to comply with their demand for enhancement of their honorarium for teaching in the morning section from Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 6000/-. The demand for enhancement is unreasonable because the same lecturers are drawing a monthly emolument of not less than Rs. 30,000/- per month for teaching mere two three hours a week. Now the question is where is the missionary spirit of a teacher? Teachers were traditionally held in high esteemed, they were called the Rabbi, Guru in some culture, but has that gone now? Where has the teacher who sacrifices himself for sake of educating his students gone? If the teachers who are supposed to be a role model for the learners also succumbed to greed, then does this district still have future? I came from a poor family and thanks to the morning class of the KN College that hundreds of students from economically weaker back ground like me were able to graduate combining study and work. Now even this opportunity is being denied to students who are willing to walk an extra mile to graduate from college.

What has the Education department done to solve this imbroglio? Noting; despite the fact that the person in charge is none other than the son of the soil of the great Jowai town. Why has the department not invite the lecturers to the negotiating table to arrive at a compromising formula? The students of the morning shift of the KN Government College were left in the lurch now, what will happen to them? Only time will tell. The College administration has made an alternative arrangement inviting for appointment of fresh lecturers on contract basis for the morning shift, but is this going to solve the problem in the long run? Like the biblical Pontius Pilate, has the ministry of higher and technical education washes it hands with regard to morning section of KNG College?

People of Jowai also wonder how it can be that ma Roi does not know about the state of affairs in the college when he is in some way part and parcel of this college or rather his other half is part of the college. Or is it because ma Roi and all the MLA are less bothered about his college and have nothing to do with it because all their children are studying in the best of colleges in Shillong or elsewhere in the country. Is it true that no body really bother about this college because the students who study in this college are only those who belong to the economically weaker section of the society? If that is the case then does it means that our honourable representatives represent the higher section of the society only? If that is so then who will speak for the poor and the needy? Or is it because Dr. R.C. Laloo’s sole intention is simply to keep the college as an heirloom?