Just shy of being a century old, Hyderabad's prestigious Osmania University (OU) appears to have taken a noticeable dip in standards since the agitations for statehood for Telangana took off in 2009.
Established in 1918 and inaugurated by the last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan, the university appears to have taken a serious blow from the agitation which made the campus resemble a war zone. The university's latest problem is that the position of principal in the Arts College does not have too many takers.
According to Deccan Chronicle, six professors were made principal in the past year, and while some of them were due for retirement soon after their appointment, others resigned from the position in a few months for various reasons.
One-and-a-half years after students were regularly bundled into vans and trucks by the police over the Telangana agitation, student unions reportedly wield much clout in the campus.
"Some students plagiarize research content, conduct research work on redundant topics and are not serious about research....students from socially backward castes threaten to file atrocity complaints if we dare ask them anything," a former principal told DC.
Padmaja Shaw, a retired professor of the University, feels that the problem lies in the uneven flow of staff recruitment.
"There is a huge gap in the ages of professors. You have senior professors who are going to retire soon and you have very young teachers - not many people in between," she tells The News Minute.
A Times of India report claimed that around 40% of OU's senior professors across various departments are up for retirement in 2015-16.
"Almost 30-50% teachers in the varsity are on contract basis. After 2007, the government didn't conduct any fresh recruitment drives (till 2014) due to which there is a huge gap between the echelons," the report quotes a teacher as saying.
Padmaja also adds that being a principal in any university college is a lot of administrative responsibility.
"There are a lot of things that one has to deal with and it gets tough sometimes. Adding to that, they have also made the principal in charge of the hostels, which is a humongous task," she says.
Though there is a chief warden, the students rush to the Principal's office for problems of all magnitudes, resulting in a lack of clarity, Padmaja adds.
Another problem is the absence of a full-time vice-chancellor which among other problems, deprives the university of opportunities to draw additional funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
According to UGC norms, universities must get accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to receive funds.
Osmania University (OU), which earlier had an â€˜Aâ€™ grade and the status of 'University with Potential for Excellence' has applied for re-accreditation, but its request has been reportedly rejected by the NAAC citing absence of regular V-C.
TNM did not get a response from the university's registrar.