Where our universities are going?
Prime Minister’s hopelessness!

He calls industry captains to give the government creative ideas!
The Indian government has become almost non-functional! If that is a harsh expression, then, readers can give us some other version of the present hopelessness that marks the Indian higher education scenario.

Prime Minister is the very picture of hopelessness. Or, helplessness?
Why pick the PM?

After all, is he not the very quintessential academic he is made out to be? If he doesn’t have a roadmap to revamp higher education, then who else can?

The HRD minister is no less responsible for the present state of affairs. The education minister pretends (either to himself or to the outside world) to be a leftist oriented man. Fine, he is welcome to do so.
But then he must explain why Indian universities don’t figure in the international rankings. In the first 200 or even 300 of the world universities Indian universities are not mentioned!

Is this not a shocking state of affairs?
Is it not the subject that should have agitated the Prime Minister? Or, other highly educated and supposedly highly competent policy makers? Or, the other galaxy of men and women who find themselves in so many (we lost count) the various PM’s advisory councils?

Now, the Pm to choose, after all these learned councils, the council on Trade and Industry, to ask Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani to provide him(by implication the government) the “new and creative ideas”! To expand and modernise education is, to say the least, is a cruel joke!

Captains of industry are at best, best at making their fortunes! They are not the ones, they are the least qualified to revamp the education sector. More so the higher education sector.

The 11th Plan is supposed to make education access easy for at least 15 per cent of the university education seekers, right?

This is both easy and difficult. Easy, considering the fast expanding commercial scale higher education self-financing colleges of all types and also the mushrooming deemed universities. The HRD minister must know how the commercialisation is going on; so much corruption and so much lowering of standards are taking place before the very eyes of the HRD minister, the AITEC and UGC etc.

So, only the innocent might believe the words and speeches from public platforms delivered by such dignitatries like the PM and the HRD ministers and others.

The ground level reality would continue to be further lowering of standards for entry into the engineering, medical and other sought after courses. You can just now walk in and pay the bribe amount and get your ward into engineering or medical colleges in any one of the colleges in the Southern states! It is as easy as it is! This business of higher education, this “manufacturing” of an engineer or a medical man!
Yes, it is another thing; the final outcome is unemployment for these so called graduate professionals!

That is the simple and crude explanation for the fall, continuing fall of our universities!

Just for a change, we saw recently a letter from Prof.B.K.Chandra Shekhar, the chairman of the Legislative Council in Karnataka to the Governor protesting the constitution of a search committee to locate candidates for the Vice Chancellorship of the three universities in the state. Three don’t have VCs.

The Governor regime put bureaucrats in the search committee. There were others like Profs and writers who protested.

How can bureaucrats select the academic candidates? It is, said the intellectuals, to lower the self-esteem of scholars, to make them stand before bureaucrats and ask them to be counted!

Yes, such degrading of the academic life and academic environment had also contributed to make universities the last place for the really talented and motivated elite.

Every day we read in the newspapers articles and news about how our research universities, institutes for social sciences research, 27 of them under the ICSSR are languishing because of bad policies like caste and other selections based on caste and quotas and favouratism. In states like TN, the universities are the breeding grounds for so many undesirable politics! There is an unholy alliance between the incumbent governments and the retired academics; they make a deadly parasitical virus!

On the public perceptions of what is right and wrong!
What true education is and what education values are!

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