By Shivangi Singh:
With effect from 18-09-2015 the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) has been renamed Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University in honour of the late ex-President, scientist, and teacher. The move was initiated by U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the wake of Dr. Kalam’s death.
I am a UPTU student of batch 2009-2013 struggling to get my degree. You see, by some fluke I have been marked ‘Absent’ for an examination I wrote in my second year of B.Tech. Even after submitting the attendance proof, my University refuses to acknowledge their mistake or update my marks. In the year 2015 alone, I have visited the University on several occasions just to be made to wait for hours while government officials engaged themselves with their daily dose of gossip served with tea, for five minutes of their precious time in which all I ever heard was how it is none of their concern and hence, could not be fixed.
Every single time the government officials were extremely rude to my parents and me. On all occasions, I was ignored, belittled, made fun of and insulted as everyone from the officiating clerk to the Examination Controller turned a deaf ear to my problem. I then went the legal way and filed an R.T.I. requesting to see my answer sheet for the said examination in June. Today, two reminders later I still have no response on the R.T.I. and this is after repeated visits, communicating in very clear terms the urgency of the situation and knocking on the doors of their ‘Student Complaint Cell’. To make the matters worse, the officiating authority of UPTU’s R.T.I. division consistently declined having received my application while the register on the counter clearly shows the post office delivery of the same and was signed under his name.
In time I realized it is not just me. In a University of around 3 lakh students in over 750 colleges across Uttar Pradesh, nearly 1,000 students approach the University every day with complaints regarding misprints and miscommunication in their results and most of these complaints do not get resolved in due time. In the past few years, UPTU has seen its fair share of student strikes and on a few occasions the demonstrations have even taken a violent turn with window panes being smashed and parts of the University being set of fire by angry students.
Regardless, the government officials continue their thick-skinned “Chalta Hai” attitude with perseverance.
During my last visit over a week ago, I was asked to simply take the examination again as the University can’t help me. In fact, the Deputy Controller of Examination, had this to say, “If we start fixing problems of every student like this then UPTU will crash with sheer workload,” followed by an outburst of mocking laughter. I wouldn’t normally have a problem with taking the examination again, but this is where it gets tricky. According to the University norms, if I appear for the examination, scheduled to be held in late December, the degree and mark sheet that I would be awarded would indicate that my degree program lasted from 2009-2015. Needless to say, with such an educational record, I will be unable to apply for most jobs and post-graduate programmes. The solution my university offered would render six years of my youth and my entire education meaningless.
When a university with such cruel indifference to its students adopts the name of a legendary teacher who sacrificed his life for education and stood out as a shining beacon of hope in India’s corruption infested education culture, students such as myself can’t help but bury our heads in shame. In 2014, a journalist from Lucknow had uncovered around 20,000 answer sheets of university’s semester examinations being sold off as waste. You know what is shocking about this? All of them were unchecked while the results of this examination were already declared. The condition of most colleges affiliated to UPTU is pitiable at best and horrendously shocking at worst as they lack infrastructure, qualified faculty and even basic facilities such as proper electricity in the classrooms. Add to it UPTU’s apathetic and student-unfriendly examination system which strictly grades students on quantity instead of quality of the answers and a perfect mix for ruining technical education in India is created. A popular joke that goes around in UPTU colleges is that for all examinations in India, candidates are asked, “How did it go?” While for UPTU examinations, students are asked, “How many pages of the answer sheet did you fill?”
This is also not the first time that my University had its name changed. Founded on May 8 2000, the Uttar Pradesh Technical University was split into Gautam Buddha Technical University (GBTU) and Mahamaya Technical University (MTU) in May, 2010 under the leadership of Mayawati-led BSP rule in UP. When the current C.M. Akhilesh Yadav came to power in 2013, the knee-jerk reaction was to change the University’s name back to UPTU. 2015 is the third year in which the nomenclature occurred. I fail to understand, how would changing the name help? How about raising its standards? How about making life easier for everyone involved by actually providing quality education to students? What about a sans corruption system of management which can conduct hassle-free examinations? When will the sharp brains of the UP government come up with a reliable system of checking and grading answer sheets so that the results uploaded on the website and printed on the mark sheets do not get messed up? Most importantly, will the innocent students whose results were distorted out of sheer carelessness on the university’s part ever get justice?
Wake up, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav! This University is a student’s worst nightmare. Your decision to change its name has thoroughly disgusted and infuriated the students and alumni. It was funny enough to see the logo change on my mark sheets every year from UPTU in the first year to GBTU in the second to MTU in the third to once again, UPTU in my final year. I do not need to confuse my potential recruiters further by getting my degree from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam University. Can you imagine the kind of explanation students from my batch have to give every time we go for an interview? Until this university can operate without completely ruining students’ lives, changing its name would solve no purpose. Please don’t insult icons such as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam by naming a dysfunctional educational institution after him.
Take campus conversations to the next level. Become a YKA Campus Correspondent today! Sign up here.
You can also subscribe to the Campus Watch Newsletter, here.