Campus-less CUK holds its first convocation

Campus-less CUK holds its first convocation
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‘Despite being without roof’ varsity graded B++ by NAAC

Irshad Khan

Srinagar: Even though failing to set up a permanent campus so far, the Central University of Kashmir held its first convocation at the SKICC here.
Hundreds of students who have passed out from the CUK over the years received their degrees and gold medals at the convocation.
On the occasion Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof Mehraj ud Din Mir admitted that the varsity may not be in a position “very immediately to raise the vertical structures” at the varsity’s Ganderbal campus where the construction was going on since 2009 when it was established.
Earlier this year, the state government said that the varsity’s Ganderbal campus may need to be shifted as the allotted land was “marshy”.
Acknowledging the uncertainty, Prof Mir surprisingly said, “I am happy to inform all of you that we shall have the best possible ramps” at the buildings still to come up at Ganderbal.
“For this we have procured some equipment and we have also placed orders for some other equipment,” he said.
Stating that the CUK operated from rented buildings, Prof Mir boasted that they had the “privilege” of holding “seminars and conferences of international level”.
The placement of the students passing out from CUK “no doubt, it is not very good” admitted the VC CUK.
“But it is satisfactory. We have a mechanism in place and a good number of students have been able to get placement on their own,” he claimed.
While the CUK had “five libraries in five rented buildings”, Prof Mir said that “We have the best library, no doubt, in short span of time”. “All the modern electronic equipments are available there and the students as well as the faculty have the opportunity to access the resources anywhere at any time wherever they are,” he added. Prof Mir said that the students at the CUK had “developed the habit of self help” as “they participate in various cultural, extracurricular activities” and have bagged awards in various competitions across the country.
“Despite being without a roof of our own” Prof Mir said that he was “glad”, “We submitted ourselves for accreditation by the NAAC and we were graded as B++”.
“Some minor audit objections” raised by the centre, he said had been “addressed, attended and waived off by concerned agencies’.
“I am also happy to inform that this is the only university where we have only two or three cases under RTI. My lawyers are without any business. There are hardly four or five cases, whereas in other universities, they have a number of cases and the budget of legal battle is in crores,” he added.
The VC said that former CM Omar Abdullah, present on in the convocation, “has been always kind”.
“Whenever we have any difficulty, we approach him. It is a very difficult question to answer that the foundation stone which he has laid, till date we have not been able to meet his expectations”.
Besides Omar, NC leaders Mohammad Akbar Lone and Mian Altaf, PDP’s Naeem Akhter and MLA Ganderbal, Ishfaq Jabbar were also present. Founder VC CUK, Prof Abdul Wahid Qureshi, Kashmir University VC, Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, VC IUST, Prof Mushtaq Siddiqui, VC BGSBU, Prof Javed Mussarat, former VCs of KU, Prof Riyaz Punjabi and Prof Jalees Tareen, also attended the convocation.
Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India, Prof K VijayRaghavan, was the chief guest on the occasion.
In his convocation address, Prof Raghavan told the students, that as residents of Kashmir they “have responsibility not only to get jobs and to survive, and to find opportunities.”
Warning against merely being “purchasers of technology” while “others were collecting data from our situations”, Prof Raghavan said, “If we learn this technology, and combine with other subjects, we have the enormous opportunity to take control of our lives as opposed to others having to tell us what is good for us and what is not”.
Universities like CUK, he said can be “exactly the kind of places where this large scale analysis of human situations and what to do after that can be done.”
“You have major challenges in infrastructure, but you have even greater challenges in becoming the guardians of this planet,” he added.
Guest of honour, Prof S K Banerjee, former Chancellor CUK and former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, in his address said that convocation at any university was “a period of transition”. “Till now, we are receivers, but there is a responsibility after passing out from the university,” Prof Banerjee said.
Governor N N Vohra, the founding chancellor of CUK, impressed on the relevance of the research carried out at universities to the practical day to day situations.
“I have been suggesting to the VCs that the relevance of these universities or their importance, if I may say so, relates directly to the extent to which the researches carried out in the universities and other institutions of higher learning relate to the problems faced by the state, whether global warming, climate change, preservation of water bodies like Dal and other beautiful lakes that we have,” Vohra said.
“It is a question we need to ask ourselves as to how many of our institutions of higher learning, how many of our universities, how many of our faculties, how many research programmes have directly related to the problems we face and that’s the suggestion that I have been making to the VCs and all the researchers,” the Governor said. Vohra said that the state faced “geographical disadvantages” and has “certain historical challenges”.
“Not all are of our own making, but it is still there,” he added.
He said that it was “our expectation that some of the best teachers qualified and experienced would teach at our universities of the state in the situations of our learning”.
“We expect students from all parts of the country to come to the state not only to enjoy its beauty and history but to also imbibe knowledge.” The CUK, Vohra said has “faced many problems, logistical and others”.
Stating that the varsity had “grown well”, Vohra emphasised, “We live in a knowledge society, a world which is challenged by technologies and rapidly growing. We cannot afford to be left out of this competition. Each student who passes out of the university has to carry a certain mandate, certain responsibility of contributing to the growth and development (of the state).
On the considerable number of girl students getting degrees and gold medals at the convocation, Vohra said, “You saw it today for yourselves that more half the medals were won by girls”.
“Our youth have more problems than elsewhere. It is our responsibility to assist them, to get over these problems”.