In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Weeks before IAS exams, KU’s Chanakya mission goes off rails

By Nisar Dharma

Srinagar, Apr 01: The University of Kashmir’s 2017 pact with ‘Chanakya Academy’ to coach 70 odd IAS aspirants has turned into a disappointment for the enrollees with issues of payments, faculty, and accommodation piling up even as the actual class-work has remained suspended for over two weeks now.

A source in the varsity told The Kashmir Monitor that around 70 IAS aspirants paid a hefty Rs 1 lakh each to get enrolled in the residential coaching programme which began in September.

Kashmir University (KU), the source added, was supposed to pay the remaining around Rs 60,000 each candidate to the academy.

The programme was part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between KU and ‘Chanakya Academy’, a Delhi-based IAS-coaching institute in May 2016.

KU, the source said, was supposed to provide the space for coaching, accommodation and food to the aspirants, while the faculty from Chanakya would train them.

On KU’s end, the Centre for Career Planning and Counselling (CCPC) was coordinating the programme.

“The coaching programme has turned into a complete mess. It was advertised back in February 2017, but the coaching started as late as September. KU and Chanakya were supposed to enroll 100 students but could manage to attract only around 70 aspirants, who were to be trained for the 2018 Civil Services exam,” the source added.

One of the programme enrollees, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that for the last two weeks, the coaching programme has remained suspended.

“As per Chanakya office set up here in CCPC, the faculty has been placed on hold since they had not received the payment from the KU,” the enrollee said.

As per the enrollee, around 16 girls among the 70 were part of the programme, which has been rife with issues since September.

“It was a residential programme and we were supposed to be provided with accommodation. But for the first many weeks, we weren’t provided with any accommodation and it was only after we boycotted the classes and raised the issue with the Vice Chancellor that the male aspirants were settled in KU’s hostels and females in Zabarwan guest house,” the aspirant said.

Three components of General Studies paper, as per the enrollee, were yet to be touched.

“Although, they are supposed to complete the coaching by May 15, the optional subjects are totally untouched. The CS-prelims is on June 03. We all were supposed to be trained for it. Even if they resume the classes, they will rush through the syllabus now,” the enrollee said.

Besides, the enrollee said that they are told that only a few of the optional subjects will be taught.

Mohammad Ayoub, Coordinator CCPC, told The Kashmir Monitor that the classes were put on hold because “they wanted to take a break.”

“Since, we had continuously conducted classes without taking any break, so we decided to halt the programme for some time,” he said.

Asked about the fee issue, Ayoub said it was an “internal arrangement issue” and the “student’s interests won’t be hit.”

“I have not received any communication regarding the fee issue,” he said.

On not teaching all the optional subjects, he said “70 odd students may have chosen around 15 optionals and it was not possible to teach all of those”.

“We, in consultation, with the students have arrived at a consensus to teach only two to three optional subjects which most of the students have chosen,” he said adding: “I understand there would be hundreds of issues but let me tell you we are very sincere in our efforts.”

Altaf, the person from Chanakya deputed at KU, said that “CCPC has not requested Chanakya for the faculty.”

“Any more information would be provided by our Delhi office,” he said.

No one from Delhi office was available to comment on the matter.

Dean Academic Affairs KU, Prof Musadiq Amin Sahaf, who had signed the MoU on the varsity’s behalf, too said the classes were put on hold because people conducting them and students “needed a break”.

On the payment issue, he said it was a different matter and was not connected with the suspension of the classes.

“The payment is in the process,” he said.