SKM government is embroiled in a scandal involving dubious private universities in Sikkim : SDF

SKM's Higher Education Scam Gets Preference In The Last Assembly Sesssion
SKM's Higher Education Scam Gets Preference In The Last Assembly Sesssion
SKM’s Higher Education Scam Gets Preference In The Last Assembly Sesssion

Gangtok, 15 February : During the 10th Assembly, Seventh Session (Part III) of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on February 12, 2024, the SKM government introduced numerous bills for deliberation. Among these were seven bills pertaining to the establishment of private universities in Sikkim. Since assuming office, the SKM government has introduced a total of 21 such private universities.

However, these institutions lack credibility, and the trusts responsible for funding and operating them have questionable backgrounds. The SKM government’s actions amount to a Higher Education scam in Sikkim, a condemnation vehemently expressed by the SDF party in the press release.

Of significant concern, these universities are proposed to be fully funded and operated by charitable organizations, trusts, and societies established no more than one or two years ago. For instance, on Monday, a bill was approved for the Management and Information Technology University, with the Institute of Management and Technical Studies Foundation (IMTS) as its trust. Astonishingly, this trust was registered a mere five months ago, on September 26th, 2023!
Another university, EILLM University, previously dissolved by the SDF government in 2015, has now come under scrutiny. However, the SKM government revived this controversial institution by passing a bill in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. The Minister of Education, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons that “the State Government has deemed it expedient to revive the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM) University by changing the name of the University to Sikkim Alpine University…”.

The establishment of Sikkim International University by the SKM government raises even graver concerns. This university is backed by the “Research and Gyan for Noble Upliftment Trust,” which has already faced controversy in Manipur due to its involvement in setting up Sangai International University. The Chairman of the Manav Bharati Charitable Trust wrote to the Governor of Manipur, alleging that the founder of Research and Gyan for Noble Upliftment Trust falsely claimed to be managing Manav Bharati University in Himachal Pradesh and Madhav University in Rajasthan, institutions actually operated by the Manav Bharati Charitable Trust. Additionally, these trusts and organizations lack any experience in managing educational institutions, let alone universities. What quality of education can such dubious entities provide for the students of Sikkim?

Since the commencement of the SKM administration, numerous universities have been established in Sikkim, including Capital University, Sikkim Alpine University, Sikkim Organic Agriculture University, Sikkim Global Technical University, Sikkim International University, Sikkim Skill University, Medhavi Skill University, Sikkim Professional University, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose University of Excellence, Sikkim Guru Padmasambhawa University, Sikkim Sardar Patel University, EdTech Skill University, Orchid University, Gurukul Vidyapeeth University, Matrix Skilltech University, Duke International University, Kanchenjunga Buddhist University, Sikkim Medical Science University, The Management and Information Technology University, and Shri Rukmani Dwarkadhish University of Science and Technology.

While the existing universities and colleges grapple with issues of inadequate infrastructure and funding, the SKM government appears determined to push forward with the privatization of higher education in Sikkim.
The SKM government often boasts about its supposed contributions to the education sector. Unfortunately, their actions remain confined to mere words. Contradictorily, on the ground, the SKM government is swiftly introducing questionable universities into the state. This strong emphasis on the privatization of higher education, especially through obscure institutions of dubious reputation, raises numerous questions about the intentions of the so-called “krantikari” (revolutionary) government.

However, the people of Sikkim unanimously acknowledge that the most significant contribution of the SKM government to the education sector has been its complete failure to manage student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of addressing crucial issues such as the provision of smart TVs, which have proven useless for education, and delivering justice to Padam Gurung, the SKM government is embroiled in a scandal involving dubious private universities in Sikkim.

The Assembly session on Monday represented the last opportunity for the SKM government to address key concerns of the people of Sikkim. However, critical matters such as the Limbu Tamang seat, the Karmapa issue, the unresolved matter of the 11+1 Left Out communities, and recent issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023, and its implications for Sikkim, as well as the repercussions of the Finance Act 2023 on the people of Sikkim, were conspicuously absent from the agenda.

The SKM government failed to present a budget that prioritizes the needs of the people of Sikkim in their final Assembly session. Instead, the government’s misplaced priorities focused on admitting dubious universities into Sikkim, jeopardizing the academic futures of Sikkim’s youth. The SDF party vehemently condemns the SKM government’s Higher Education Scam in Sikkim.