Assam Women teachers to help check exodus

Assam women teachers to save and strengthen the public-funded higher education sector.

Women college teachers in Assam will now don the role of friend, philosopher and guide to help students know more about their immediate environment, develop leadership skills, tide over personal problems and create awareness about the threat posed to the higher education sector.
The move comes in the wake of economic meltdown and the threat posed by exodus of students. According to the association, nearly 50,000 students go out annually.
The second state-level convention of women teachers, organised by the ACTA in Nagaon yesterday, has firmed up a roadmap for women teachers, association president A.K. Das said.
“The counselling will be initially held twice a year and will be confined to girls students because they will find it easier to share their problems with our women colleagues who will try to advice them accordingly. They will try to instil leadership quality in the students. The teachers will also interact with the neighbourhood and change perceptions about the education sector and other social problems. The nature of counselling will be different in urban and rural areas,” he added.
Dispur has attributed the exodus to non-introduction of courses in demand and non-update of existing courses. No new post has been created since 1992 and there are about 1,100 vacant posts in colleges. 
“The government has only given permission to colleges to introduce self-financing courses which is not feasible because not many can afford it. Those who can, prefer to go out. During this economic crisis, one cannot rely on private institutions, which the government is backing now. Even a leading institution like Cotton College is facing problems filling up degree seats,” ACTA general secretary Pradip Dutta said, urging Dispur to prepare a database of those leaving for higher studies to get to the exact nature of loss.
Tapati Mukhopadhyay, a senior office-bearer of the All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation, said: “It is unique step. To save the higher education sector and prevent exodus of students from the state and the Northeast, women teachers can play a more effective role.”