Thursday, February 14, 2013

Education: Decline on Fast Track

Higher Education - Decline on Fast Track!

Today's(14 February 2013) News on Higher Education: Minister for Higher Education(who is Pro Chancellor of all Universities) Government of Karnataka, carries the Bill in the Legislature for more power for Pro Chancellor such as having a say in the appointment of Vice Chancellors, Order Enquiry and action on the report on Vice Chancellors, on his own, among other powers. Two MLCs say of corruption in the selection of Vice Chancellor to Universities amounting up to Rs. six crores each. Constitution of a Board with Minister for Higher Education as Chairman for inter-university transfer of teachers. Closing of University Department if there are are less than 10 student for two consecutive years, and so on. Legislature passes the Bill.

The Minister wants to assume more power on the universities because, apparently, the Chancellor(who is the Governor of the State) who has all powers now is working against the interest of higher education in the State. Imagine what would happen if both the Chancellor and the Pro Chancellor are not 'all right' in a given time, - a deadly mix of poison, a death knell to the cause of higher education in the state.

The present Chancellor is the worst among all the Chancellors Karnataka has seen. Governors like Kursheed Alam Khan, Tara Devi or T N Chaturvedi, only a few as example, were clean handed and conducted themselves most gracefully. Whereas the present one  indulges in flagrant violation of Law(Acts, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations), supports and encourages corrupt and the mal-practitioners even after judicial indictment on them (e.g. Continuing in charge VC against Rules, inaction on the two VCs  against a proven criminal charges of the heinous kind).

Government closing the university department for less number of students reflect the high handedness and lack of understanding of centres of higher learning. It is the contribution and adding to the knowledge rather than mere dissemination of knowledge is of utmost importance in higher education and as such research must play a pre eminent role there. Students may be less in the class but research in that subject can go on continuously and for ever by the teachers and the department exist for the same. Just because many of the present day teachers do not indulge in research( it is neither mandatory or encouraged now), we can not forget their primary role and we must ensure its presence rather than closing the department.

Transfer of teachers to other universities too is beset with many ills. Ideally, each university and each teacher in it has ones own orientation in the multidimensionality in each subject/topic and it makes nonsense academically by a blind transfer of teachers. Besides, it may degenerate into a source of personal income to the people concerned in the government as, such a corruption is seen widely wherever transfer are seen in the government.

Government (Chancellor or Pro Chancellor) assuming more powers is not the remedy for the existing malady in Higher Education, in fact, doing so would be worse than a disease itself. Look at the best universities/institutes/centre for higher learning in the world including a few such in our own country, we see clearly an absence of government control and interference there. Teachers feel more responsible and accountable in such an autonomous situation unlike the many teachers now in the other large number of universities where they can easily play excuses or blame game and get away. It is not more governmental control but of least control, supportive of autonomy and freedom of teachers to self govern and lead the students to their higher reaches that ensure quality, excellence and creativity in education and that can be achieved by little empowerment and training of teachers in that regard.






5 comments:

surappa said...

I agree with Prof. Thimmappa on the present state of affairs of Higher Education in Karnataka. Both public and academia have lost trust in Chancellor , Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education. Appointment of VCs is completely political and cast driven. Probity and integrity do not seem to find any place in the appointment of VCs. Personal likes and dislikes, political clout and other appeasement seems to be playing dominant role in these appointments.of Chancellor often compares one of the Universities in the sate to Oxford lIke University. No one on the earth will give any credence to this kind of comparision.
Recently Minister in Germany and Prime Minister in another European country were forced to resign on the charges of plagiarism. On the contrary people charged with plagiarism seem to be favourite and most deserved candidates for the post of VCs. It is utter shame that our academic community is not able to come together and prevail upon the authorities in stopping such appointments. I wish to cite one clear example of proven scientific misconduct of prominent person in Karnataka who now occupies important position in the Higher Education System in Karnataka. Several years ago when I learnt this particular dubious scholar has coerced the Karnataka University for the award of Hon. Doctorate , I approached then Chancellor Mr. Chaturvedi just two days before the Convocation . I submitted to the Chancellor,all the documentary evidence about his scientific misconduct. Mr. Chaturvedi not only appreciated my labour in unearthing his scientific misconduct but also immediately cancelled the award of Hon. Doctorate. I have all the documents relating to this episode and I am sure it must be available in RajBhavan. If present Chancellor and the Concerned Minister are serious in knowing this, I will be happy to provide them details. However, to the misfortune of five crore Kannadigas, this scholar is now occupying a prominent position in Karnataka and exerts enormous influence .
When most influential person like Rajat Gupta can be convicted on insider charges, Prime Minister of country can be sent home on scientific misconduct, how is that people of such characters are the most preferred one for higher academic position in the state of Karnataka?. Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Minister will you please wake up and take steps?
Surappa

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By looking at the activities of the present generation, I don't know whose fault it is, education or upbringing?

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