UoP climbs down, puts hill station workshop on hold

Feb 18, 2013, 08:24 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

After a MiD DAY report about varsity's intention to organise a seminar for principals at Mahabaleshwar at a cost of Rs 18 lakh, the plan has been postponed indefinitely

Principals of colleges affiliated to University of Pune (UoP) won’t be heading for the hills in a hurry. The varsity’s plan of holding a three-day workshop for them at Mahabaleshwar has been put on ice. This after MiD DAY reported on January 28 (‘Why Mahabaleshwar and not UoP campus?’), how certain professors had questioned the need for spending Rs 18 lakh on the conference, maintaining that the varsity and its colleges have several spacious halls and auditoriums that are adequate for the purpose. Incidentally, Mahabaleshwar doesn’t come under UoP’s jurisdiction.

“Due to various causes we have decided to postpone the workshop, which was supposed to be held between February 15 and 17 at Mahabaleshwar,” said Dr WN Gade, vice-chancellor of UoP. When asked about the precise reasons behind the decision, he said, “The ongoing professors’ agitation was a key consideration. Besides, we’ve now entered the exam period. So, we have decided to cancel the workshop for now.”

Distant dream? Mahabaleshwar, where the workshop was to be held, doesn’t come under UoP’s jurisdiction. File Pic

MiD DAY probed him about the new dates and whether the venue for the symposium will be changed, but the V-C clarified that no resolutions have been made in this regard.  “Even though Mahabaleshwar does not come under the jurisdiction of the varsity, we fixed it as the venue because that would allow the principals to solely concentrate on the agenda of the workshop, which would not have been possible if the event were to be held inside the UoP campus,” added Gade. However, a top university official said, “As thousands of senior college professors have already partaken in the state-wide agitations, the government has made it very clear that no principal should leave his or her college campuses. Also, the media criticism has forced UoP to postpone the workshop.”

Point to be noted: The story on the plan to hold a 3-day-workshop at the hill station, ‘Why Mahabaleshwar and not UoP campus?’, was carried by MiD DAY on January 28, 2013

“What is the need for going to Mahabaleshwar, when all the facilities required for such an educational conclave are readily available in every college in the city?” asked the principal of a renowned Commerce college. “There is no doubt about the requirement for such a workshop. But the venue does not matter. A lot of resources can be saved by holding the event in the city,” he added.  Every year the university reserves a part of its annual budget for orientation workshops either for its governing body members or teachers-principals of colleges.  UoP has 618 affiliated colleges in Pune, Ahmadnagar and Nashik districts. 

Teachers’ agitation
u There’s been a state-wide boycott of examination work by teachers since February 4. Over 50,000 teachers have boycotted setting, supervising and assessing exams and conducting practicals. The Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation said the teachers were determined to struggle until the government came to a negotiated settlement. The agitators are pressing for 6th Pay Commission arrears and regularisation of services of non-NET/SET teachers appointed between September 19, 1991 and April 3, 2000. 

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