Dhanamanjuri University and its Identity Crisis

Written By: / Editorial / Monday, 11 January 2021 18:37

Ever since the establishment Dhanamanjuri University (DMU) as a cluster university in April 2018, it has been in news largely for wrong reasons. Since its inception the university has been run with utmost neglect and uncanny management. Dhanamanjuri University has earned a bad name not for the lack of students and academic aura but for the structural ad-hocism which has in turn plagued the every aspect of its functional identity. With no regular Vice-Chancellor, the university has remained mired in bureaucratic hands and red-tapism with circumstantial possibility of alienating the teaching community from making substantive inroads into academic progression. The much delayed establishment of Academic Council, Syndicate, integrated Internal Quality Assurance Cell etc., for the university are some of the repercussions of the ad-hocism that DMU has come to symbolise since its inception. It has operated as a University for more than two years while it has also successfully produced its first post-graduate batch. Ironically, the university officially has neither appointed nor recognised any faculty position for delivering the said academic duty till date. Thus, a serious question over the legitimacy of the degree of the first batch post-graduate students loom large due to the fact that no officially recognised post-graduate teachers existed during the said period of their course.
As the university completes its more than two years of existence, the onus lies on the authority to come out with a clear explanation on who constitutes the teaching and non-teaching staffs of DMU. In case of its failure to answer, a technical crisis over its identity would put the fate of the post-graduate courses run in the university at risk for the simple fact that no teachers have been legally assigned to deliver such an academic activity. Another aspect of the identity crisis of DMU has reportedly come from its technical inability fulfil the criteria 12 (B) of the NAAC. The crisis is seemingly large because NAAC in its proposed assessment is to treat the institute (DMU) not as a college but as a University. For instance, under the provisions of 12 (B), any institute applying for NAAC accreditation needs to submit a list of its teaching faculties. The tragedy is that DMU as a university that has no list of such approved teachers. Since DMU cannot fulfil the 12 (B) requirements, the status of DMU as a full-fledged University to be recognised by University Grants Commission is for sure to have procedural complications. The repercussions have been more significantly felt by the poor students of the university while accessing their rightful scholarships under UGC.
With the ever growing crises in the university, the existing teachers of the five constituent colleges; D.M. College of Arts, Science, Commerce, G.P. College and LMS Law College, of the Dhanamajuri University are up in arms about their unsolicited position in the university. According the Internal Structure Committee instituted by DMU in November 2020, the ‘existing teachers’ include the utilised faculties from several colleges of the state who were deputed to shoulder the burden of undergraduate and post-graduate teaching in the constituent colleges of Dhanamajuri University. In addition to the woes caused by the SARS-COV 2 pandemic, the University is continuously in troubled waters due to enormous existential crises and apathy of the political authorities. The Ad-hoc Committee of the Constituent Colleges of Dhanamanjuri University has suspended the recently resumed online classes while affirming its stand to boycott offline classes as well. The Committee has been spearheading a series of sit-in-protests since the 6th January of the current year. The Committee reportedly submitted a memorandum to the V.C. in-Charge on 9th December 2020 to fully absorb the existing teachers of the constituent colleges in the Dhanamanjuri University before the proposed recruitment of 88 Assistant Professors.
The crisis in the academic world of Manipur is so apparent due to the depraved identities of universities in the state, may it be Manipur University or Manipur University of Culture. The deplorable state of affairs in these institutions of higher learning needs to be holistically seen as reflex of the embedded decay in educational policy making and its governance. The role of political class to engage the agitating teachers to reach an amicable solution is the need of the hour. The Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Minister of Education needs to understand the simmering crisis in higher education so that the lingering crisis of the DMU’s identity be finally resolved.

About the Author

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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