Students are on a 10-day protest relay run from Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram.
After 56 years, the only Physical Education college under the State government is in a state of neglect.
The college existing in around 12 acres of land at East Hill in Kozhikode does not offer a masters’ degree but just a one-year degree course (Bachelor of Physical Education-B.P.Ed) and a two-year certificate course (C.P.Ed).
The bare minimum facilities available on the campus include classrooms, an administrative building, a 200m track and hostels, besides an indoor stadium which is the ‘oldest in the State’ built in the sixties.
A fund of Rs. 1 crore was sanctioned by the government last year for a new building on the campus. The University of Calicut, to which the college is affiliated to, agreed to sanction a few new courses. “But the government didn’t approve the new course,” said R. Binoy, principal of the college.
In place of the required staff strength of 13, the college has a total of 6 faculty members including two guest instructors. The present student strength of the college, which provides academic training for students in as many as 15 sporting events, is around 160.
“Though we have been bringing the developmental needs of the college to the notice of the authorities on several occasions, nothing was done about it,” said the Principal. “Things have come to a stage where a teacher’s leave for an emergency situation would upset the entire functioning of the college,” said Dr. Binoy.
The students, with the support of their parents, are presently attempting to bring the issue to the notice of the government. They launched a 10-day-long protest relay run from Kozhikode to the State capital on October 14. The rally is expected to reach Thiruvananthapuram on October 23.
The protest has support of all the students, said Sharmesh Lal, secretary of the students action committee, which is leading the protest.
“We will submit a memorandum detailing our demands to the Chief Minister and all other concerned authorities at the end of the run,” said Mr.Lal, who is a B.P.Ed student at the college.
“We have been requesting the government for the past eight years to clear our application for at least a couple of new courses, which are very essential for us to survive in the changing scenario,” said K.P. Jamaludheen, president of the committee.
“Though the University had given affiliation for both the courses and there was fund for the required infrastructure, only the government didn’t respond to our needs,” said a teacher at the college.
According to him, all the students are from financially-backward families. The certificates they get have no use as they do not fetch them a job. It is high time the government approved the new courses, he said.
Their demands include the sanctioning of at least two courses (an undergraduate and a PG course) allotment of sufficient teachers, completion of a 400 m track and ensuring of basic facilities at the hostel.
“We don’t have facilities even for our basic needs at the hostel,” says Mr. Jamaludheen. The protesting students are, however, not ready to give up hope. “We hope that the government will listen to us at least at the end of our marathon,” said Mr. Jamaludeen.