By Insha Latief
Srinagar: The highest student-teacher ratio in a college must surely belong to the Government Degree College Baghi Dilawar Khan, which has seven teachers for six students.
In the five years since the college began to function, that is all the students it has managed to enrol. Insiders say that this is because of a political rivalry between the past and present education ministers, but considering that the college is located inside a school, its lack of charm for college students is not difficult to fathom.
In the premises of the MP Higher Secondary School in downtown Srinagar, a two-storey building contains the degree college. Tasleema Peer, principal of the college, said that sometimes the school gatekeeper turns away the college staff, unable to recognise them.
“We are operating in another school’s building. Sometimes the gatekeeper doesn’t allow us to enter the school,” Peer said.
There is not much staff to recognise anyway. For the six students studying in it, the college has one permanent teacher and six teachers on contract. The principal said that the college was established to cater to students living in downtown Srinagar.
The proposal for the college was approved in the year 2011. In 2012, its building began to be constructed.
“In the congested downtown area, no space was available. So the MLA of the area decided that the college be established at Baba Demb, behind Gandhi Memorial College,” Peer said.
The building at Baba Demb is still under construction. An official of the college said, “There is a rift between political leaders of two different parties. One wanted to establish the college and the other was opposed to it. Because of the rift, the construction of the college was put on hold.”
The lack of a building did not come in the way of the establishing of the college. A building of the MP Higher Secondary School was taken on rent and the college was set up there.
“The number of students has always been meagre. We publish pamphlets, advertise on billboards, but the number of students declines every year,” a college official said.
The official said that now the college has found favour with the new education minister. The construction of the college building is expected to pick up pace, but the money has not been released yet, the official said.
The land on which the under-construction college building stands has become a haven for charas smokers and drug addicts. The watchman guarding the land said, “Boys usually come here to smoke drugs. I can’t say anything to them for fear that they may do some harm to me.”
Until the building is complete, college authorities want some huts to be built at the site. “We want some temporary structure, like huts, to be constructed so that at least we can have our own independent space. That will also clear the site from such elements as should not be there in the vicinity of an educational institution,” said the principal.