Letter from the Students of GKCIET, Malda, Pleading Solidarity with their Movement Demanding the Right to Affiliation and Recognition
"In June 2016, when the first batch of students neared their graduation from B.Tech, rumours were floating that a degree might not be awarded"
August 12, 2018
We, the students of Ghani Khan Chowdhury Institute of Engineering and Technology (GKCIET), Malda, West Bengal, are writing to you today with the hope that you, can help us at this desperate hour., We are students of an institution who have been misled and abandoned by the very people who were tasked with looking out for us, and today our futures hang in the balance.
GKCIET is a technical institute founded in 2010 under the aegis of the central government, and has seen such eminent visitors as former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former President Dr. Pranab Mukherjee. It was started with a unique modular course structure of 2+2+2 years, with exit points at the end of each of the 2-year modules aimed at benefiting its students through the polishing of their technical and vocational skills. GKCIET began with the promise of certification at three levels, the first equivalent to a school-leaving degree, the second to a technical diploma and the third to a B.Tech, with new students able to join or older ones able to exit at each juncture. However, all these grand promises proved to be hollow, and we the students of GKCIET have been jettisoned by the authorities, deliberately misled and left to fend for ourselves. In June 2016, when the first batch of students neared their graduation from B.Tech, rumours were floating that a degree might not be awarded.
Concerned by this, we approached the authorities, who only then deigned to inform us that GKCIET did not, in fact, have any official affiliation and could not, therefore, grant us any degrees. Stunned at this revelation, we asked what was to become of us. We were told that our training, our hard-earned education would not find recognition in a degree through which we could find gainful employment. The lives of hundreds of students were suddenly thrown into disarray, our futures darkened and our careers in tatters, for no fault of our own.
Unable and unwilling to accept this blatant breach of trust, we started a movement demanding the right to affiliation and recognition. Faced with the disaffection of the authorities, we started an indefinite hunger strike, which our authorities ignored as well.
Facing brutalities and indifference from the police and the government we continued our justified movement, till finally the State government agreed to take over from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that had, up to that point, supposed to be responsible for GKCIET. After many more backflips and delays, we were informed that the West Bengal State Council of Technical and Vocational Education and Skill Development
would grant legitimacy to GKCIET and grant our Certificate and Diploma degrees, while the National Institute of Technology (NIT) would mentor GKCIET and offer its B.Tech course affiliation. Our long struggle seemed to have finally borne fruit, but in fact our troubles are, to this date, far from abating. Having been delayed significantly in our assessment and admissions processes, we demanded that our examinations be held swiftly to allow Certificate students to move into the Diploma module and the Diploma students to begin their B.Tech schedules without losing academic years. At this point we were thrown into yet another bureaucratic tangle, with the Institute claiming that only the Council could hold our examinations. The incumbent Director of the Institute had informed us that as long as the Council did not vest GKCIET with the right to conduct examinations, the authorities could not proceed with them, fearing further complications at a later date. There is also a lot of confusion surrounding the permanent affiliation of the B.Tech programme, since the arrangement with NIT Durgapur was only on a temporary basis for a year. Furthermore, it has transpired that two students who had secured jobs in the paramilitary services of the
Government of India had not been allowed to join because their diploma structure was not recognised in the service. All this while we have continued our movement to secure our rights and for our hard-earned education to be recognised through a degree which can earn us gainful employment. We have been treated with indifference and silence by the uncooperative GKCIET administration, the State Council and the MHRD, while the police
have alternately falsely reassured and repressed our movement. The inhumanity we have faced has extended so far that students who fell ill during the protest demonstrations and hunger strikes were not even provided the use of an ambulance.
In these circumstances, we appeal to you to stand in solidarity with our struggle. We hope that your support will go a long way in strengthening our two year long movement and help us in achieving our demand.
We the students of GKCIET will be holding a sit-in demonstration on 10th August from 2pm in Ranu Chhaya Mancha (near Academy of Fine Arts). We shall be very happy if you would be able to be present at the program.
The students of GKCIET
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