Hundreds of students enrolled in the twelve new Arts and Science Colleges in the State have much to complain about. They have neither toilets nor drinking water, computers nor teachers on their campuses.

The announcement on starting new colleges in Sivakasi, Kovilpatti, Kangeyam, Mudukulathur, Kadaladi, Tiruvadanai and Kumarapalayam among other places was made last year. All of these colleges have five courses – B.A. in Tamil and English, 2 B. Com courses and B. Sc in computer science. As per records, there are at least 120 students enrolled in each of these colleges. After much delay, the courses commenced earlier this month with the Chief Minister herself inaugurating them via tele-conference.

“There are ten sanctioned posts for teachers here, but only three are filled. The teachers have been deputed from Madurai and are on leave all the time because the infrastructure conditions are so bad here. Many leave the college in a day or two, and ask for reposting because there are no basic amenities here,” said the principal of a new college.

While the colleges in Sivakasi and Kovilpatti have relatively more teachers, the others have four or less teachers as opposed to their sanctioned strength of 12. Five of the colleges have no principals.

The new colleges in Ramanathapuram recently asked nearby schools to lend them a block and have set up makeshift toilets for students. “Female students refuse to come to college if there are no toilets. We want the government to construct toilets first and provide drinking water, without which it is impossible to get students to study,” said a teacher.

Also, the teachers and principals have been awaiting their salaries since June. “Though no classes were held, teachers and principals had to come every day and take care of the admission and administration work. Since there are no sweepers, peons or assistants, the work load has been very heavy,” a teacher said.

Heads of the colleges have asked for the postponement of the university practical exams in computer science that are scheduled for the first week of November.

“There is no way our students can take the exams. There is not even a single computer and even principals have been sending out hand-written circulars. It will take us at least two months to train our students once computers arrive,” a principal said.s

The Tamilnadu Government College Teachers’ Mandram members said they had written to higher education officials several times seeking their immediate intervention.

“The teachers are languishing without any salary for the last two months, and the students are yet to start their course. Things should have been planned out better so that all concerned did not have to suffer so much,” said R. Moorthy, general secretary of the association.