S.P. Singh Baghael, member of Parliament from Agra, has demanded central status for Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University, set up in Agra in 1927. It was earlier known as Agra University. Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Friday, he said the university had given two Presidents (Ram Nath Kovind and Shankar Dayal Sharma), three Prime Ministers (Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Gulzari Lal Nanda and Choudhary Charan Singh) and two Chief Ministers (Kalyan Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav).
Upgrading it to a central university would be fitting tribute to Ambedkar, he added. Baghael said universities of Meerut, Jhansi, Bareilly, Jaunpur and Kanpur were carved out of it. Meanwhile, the university continues to remain in news for all the wrong reasons -- mismanagement, bungling, cheating, forged degrees and examination backlogs.
"Students are no longer attracted to this university, which is evident from the seats going vacant in so many courses. The complaints graph never gets shorter," said Sudhier Gupta, a former student.
The future of lakhs of students was at the stake as the state government had failed to take remedial measures, he added.
Once a great university that produced a stream of intellectuals and academics who went on to impart their excellence to other educational institutions, the university today presents a picture of chaos and aimlessness.
Corruption and inefficiency have weakened its foundation. In the past decade, the university could not boast of any achievement either in sports or research, but for corruption.
The sanctity of the examination system has been destroyed and mark-sheets are for sale, allege students. When all other universities in the country were adapting to new contexts and gearing up for new profiles, why Ambedkar University's ship was sinking and stinking, wondered a student.
For one, the size of the university has become unwieldy. With more than a thousand affiliated colleges and nearly 8,00,000 students, plus a dozen residential institutes that have become hot spots of dirty politics, no captain would be able to steer the ship out of present rot, is the common refrain.
Teachers say it has been suggested several times that the university be split into three if not four. Some colleges need to be promoted as centres of excellence and given autonomous status.
The Raja Balwant Singh College, Asia's largest college in terms of area, itself should become a university. Baghael also demanded deemed university status for Agra College, set up in 1823. Why successive state governments have been dragging their feet on restructuring the university, remains beyond comprehension.
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