GUWAHATI, Dec 26: The Department of Cultural Affairs, Assam has made a mess of its only college of art and craft that has virtually turned into an institute meant to spell doom for the future of students. It seems that running a college is not a cup of tea for the department. The college is one of the oldest institutes in the State.
By an accident of birth, Government College of Art and Crafts, Guwahati got into the wrong hand since its inception on August 15, 1947. When the country was celebrating independence in 1947 this institute was born in Assam, albeit in a wrong department. The college is under the Department of Cultural Affairs, Assam and not under the Education Department of the State. And there lies all problems that have been spelling the future of the students of the college doom. The examinations of the college are conducted by Gauhati University like other colleges in the State. However, unlike other colleges affiliated under Gauhati University the examination schedules and results of this college have no fixtures. The students come to know about their examination schedules only one or two days before their examinations, and that too when contacted. The practical examinations for the fourth and the fifth year students were held from December 13 to 16 this year, but only God knows when the examinations of the theory papers will be conducted.
The results of the college are something the students have to grope for. They never know when their results will be declared. They have to wait amidst an uncertainty every year, and in the long wait for results they miss academic sessions for admission in other institutes for higher studies.
Every art and craft student has a creative mind. He/she may be good in creative art, fine art or commercial art. However, instead of instilling creativity, the students, in most of the cases, get their creativity killed in the institute.
Till 1993 the institute had up to diploma courses. However, five-year degree courses were introduced later. The institute is following the same old 1993 curricula that had five-year degree courses while the likes of them in other institutes have four-year degree courses.
Talking to The Sentinel, college students’ union general secretary Pulak Rabha and students Chinmoy Deka, Ankur Hazarika and others said: “The problems of the college know no bounds. Five-year degree course being followed in this institution isn’t seen anywhere else in India. Since the institute is under the Department of Cultural Affairs, Assam it doesn’t get the right importance from Gauhati University. The university doesn’t hold the examinations wholeheartedly. So much so that we have to take to the streets to get our results declared. Delay in results, as often as not, prevents many among us from going for higher studies elsewhere in India. The Cultural Affairs Department is solely responsible for such a plight of this one of the oldest institutes of the State. The lack of adequate classrooms leads the college authority to declare off days for students when examinations of a particular class are underway. The paucity of faculties also affects the students. The Department of Sculpture has only two faculty members, one each for Graphic and Applied Art, and there is no faculty for Painting. A technical assistant has been teaching in the Department since 2013 when its regular faculty member retired. The college has a faculty member for Art History even as there’s no such department. The Cultural Affairs Department doles out a meagre Rs 20,000 for freshers’ social, farewell, and other annual events. Acute cash crunch prevents us from taking part in events like youth festival. Last year the department didn’t release that amount too. Rs 5 crore was sanctioned in 2012 for the construction of a building of the college. For reasons best known to the department and the college authority, the construction work of the building came to a grinding halt in 2014. The half-constructed building looks like a jungle.”