The poor implementation of ambitious Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) in state colleges has become a pain in the neck for teachers and students alike. Contrary to the claims of Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla (which lists RUSA implementation as its top achievement), the haste, with which the new system of higher education was implemented over three years ago, has messed up things for students.While the failure of the system, introduced without putting the pre-requisites in place in Himachal Pradesh, was evident since the beginning, it all reached the climax this year with over 90 per cent of students studying in colleges affiliated with HPU failing in the first semester exam and the varsity constituting a high powered committee to look into it.
The varsity has now relaxed the pass percentage to help the students get through. The poor results, sources said, had to do with the sudden shift of HPU last year to a different system for pass per centage, which the students did not adjust to. The Choice Based Credit System under RUSA comes from the pattern of education system followed abroad. No doubt, it gives a wider perspective to education and if implemented properly and uniformly across the country, it may give a better exposure to the students during higher studies. It is the brainchild of the previous UPA government in the Centre, which had promised additional financial help by the Centre to the states which adopt this system.
Unfortunately, while Congress government in HP jumped on to the decision to adopt the system to keep with Centre’s education policies despite reluctance by teachers and the students alike. Its half baked implementation in the state with poor facilities, infrastructure, staff and subjects, has messed up everything to the disadvantage of the students. The teachers too are feeling the heat as their work has increased manifold keeping with the complexities of academics in RUSA.If one goes into the background, the RUSA implementation has inherent bottlenecks in Himachal Pradesh. In around 80 per cent government colleges in the state, there is one teacher for a subject. He/She is now expected to teach 36 hours a week, besides spending 36 hours for other academic activities, including preparation of question papers, examination, internal assignment and maintaining record of each student.
There is shortage of around 1500 teachers in state colleges under RUSA. Inordinate delay in results of students getting education under RUSA system apart, what compounded the problem was that the HPU started the annual semester system, Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) and online application simultaneously. The same server is used to put awards as well as online evaluation of forms, which becomes congested and the data operators have to wait, resulting in delay. Under the new system, the paper system and evaluation which is decentralized is being done by the college teachers who are already reeling under the workload. More so, the seats in the colleges in HP are limited and students are not getting admission in the colleges of their choice and there is no uniformity in the option of subjects in different government colleges in the state for shortage of teachers. As also, under the CBCS a student had to score 120 for undergraduate courses, including major, minor compulsory and hobby subjects, which was a big burden for them.
Above all, the students interested in doing Post Graduation outside the state in some specific subjects, including science, found it difficult to get admissions in Panjab University, Delhi University or other prestigious institutions in the country for difference in subject combinations and the credit base. Majority Universities in the country, it is pertinent to mention, have not switched to RUSA as they didn’t find it fit for different reasons. For reasons valid, the student outfits, Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) had been demanding scrapping of RUSA system as the reason for its implementation, which was to provide quality education, was not being met and the syllabus was not up to the mark.