The prestigious BA Honours Economics course granted to Maharaja’s College seems to have fallen victim to the crossfire in the turf war between the Mahatma Gandhi (MG) University Vice-Chancellor and the Higher Education Department.

Any further delay in granting affiliation to the course by the MG University runs the risk of the college losing the programme.

The Higher Education Department had earlier this year selected four colleges representing four universities for honours degree programme from the 2013-14 academic year. While all other three have started the course, it is yet to take off in Maharaja’s College, thanks to pending affiliation order from the MG University.

“The college has complied with all formalities on its part and has been relentlessly pursuing it. We were told that the university syndicate of September 30 will approve it and the order will be issued the very next day,” Latha Raj, college Principal, told The Hindu.

The Governor had accepted the prayer for condonation of delay in starting the course and forwarded the file to the MG University where it has been remaining since then.

“The government had recognized our department by awarding the honours degree and we are really upset about the delay in approving the course. Belying our initial apprehension about the response to the programme owing to the relatively higher cut-off mark of 70 per cent in the qualifying exam for admission, we have been flooded with inquiries from students. We have been assuring them that the course will start this academic year itself,” said Sunilkumar S. Menon, Head of the Department of Economics, Maharaja’s College.

A.V. George, Vice-Chancellor, MG University, said he had signed the order granting affiliation and it will be issued very shortly. He dispelled allegations of delaying the decision stating that the course was cleared as soon as the Governor approved the condonation of delay by invoking Section 10 (17) of the MG University Act authorising the Vice-Chancellor to act in emergency situations bypassing the Academic Council, he said.

Justifying the decision to wait for the Governor’s decision, Mr. George said that the university could not have granted permission to run a course on a syllabus not approved by its Board of Studies and the Academic Council.

He said that it was better for the college to start the course next academic year with the first semester exams of the regular stream of graduation courses hardly a month away.

“The college will have to find a way to meet the requirement of 75 per cent attendance mandatory in appearing for the exam. The university cannot afford to delay the exam, as it will throw our examination calendar into disarray,” Mr. George said.

P.K. Velayudhan, Director, Collegiate of Education, however, questioned this argument asking if that was a concern why the Vice-Chancellor had sat on the file for the past one-and-a-half months.

Stating that the chances of starting the course in the college this academic year seems very remote, Mr. Velayudhan said the higher education department will be forced to award the course to some other university if the MG University further delayed in granting approval to the course.

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