Introduction of PG courses at Sikkim University but what still lacks in the state's higher education scenario?

Introduction of PG courses at Sikkim University but what still lacks in the state's higher education scenario?

Sikkim's education sector is growing in leaps and bounds with one of their most recent achievements fbeing the introduction of post graduate courses at Sikkim University (Central University of Sikkim) in Botany, Zoology and Chemistry from the upcoming session of 2021-22 at Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College (NBBDC), Tadong. The university is also planning to extend the current courses of Physics, Mathematics, Economics, English and History.

Similarly, at Government College of Namchi Under-Graduate (UG) courses for Geography and Commerce and Political Science in Government College of Gyalshing have also been included in the list of new courses.

Following this, the state has also approved a budget for developing infrastructure of laboratory and adding equipment in colleges. It is of great help to the students as most of them go out of the state for further education and due to financial problems, some prefer not to continue further. So as to tackle these sorts of challenges faced by the students, the state has taken a significant step. 

President of Sikkim University Student Association (SUSA) Mahesh Rai says, "It is a bold step by the state government to introduce new courses, however, instead of introducing new courses the state education system should make the existing ones better."

He also added that, if the state is able to fulfil the necessities like then it would be great for the students.

It is also a challenge for the state education department to ensure that the quality of education is at par with other universities in the nation. Dean of Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College (NBBDC) Kthittiz Chettri explained that the inclusion of courses such as Botany, Chemistry is a huge achievement for the state’s education sector. 

He further stated, “Since there were no PG courses in Botany elsewhere in the state and only one institute for Chemistry, the basic requirement will be fulfilled by the state. The technical team of Sikkim University has already inspected and verified NBBDC Gangtok for the courses."

He believes that all necessities will be provided to the students for quality education. Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University Professor Avinas Khare inspected premises of NBBDC Gangtok along with his team to ensure the facilities for the students is not compromised.

The admission procedure for the courses have already started via two modes of online and offline,  the students are also  filling up the forms, on day 2 of the admission total of 29 students applied online. Despite the challenges it is a huge step taken by the state education department.

Indra Hang Subba, MP Lok Sabha through his Facebook page extended his gratitude towards team from Education Department headed by ACS, Director HE/TE and Secretary, Principal and faculties of NBBDC, NGC and GCG for the extraordinary efforts and President and executive members of SKM Student’s Wing. 

However, the concern here remains is whether the state will be able to fulfill the necessary requirements needed for the courses and look deeper into the demands of PhD scholars or those looking for better scholarships? 

PhD scholar at Sikkim University Patrush Lepcha said that there are fellowships of the state which students can avail from any part of the country but an annual renewal would be more beneficial than a one-time payment. 

"The fellowship cannot be called good as the amount is very less of Rs. 6000 as well as the way of reimbursement is not organised", said Lepcha. "Researches need to followed up monthly not yearly which provides financial crisis among the students".

While giving the example of Sikkim University, he further said that non-NET PhD and M.Phill scholars of the university receive an amount of Rs 8000 and 6000 per month which aids their work to a minimum. He suggests that either the central or state government should increase the amount to Rs. 10,000 for M.Phil and Rs. 12,000 for PhD scholars, as this will help them more as non-net students cannot receive fellowship of huge amount.

Speaking on the scholarships offered by the state, Lepcha said that students are more ignorant than aware of the state sponsored scholarships. "Scholarships are such things students should search for themselves and apply to it as they are receiving benefits from government. Just because the system is complacent, it doesn’t mean that students should stop applying. The procedure of receiving scholarships are always tough everywhere but students of Sikkim lag behind".