Higher Education in India is running in several parallel structural and functional streams. There are also difference in their organisation,patterns of curricula,teaching ,examination,evaluation,recruitment,research,administrative policies,fiscal management and futuristic vision.These are real challenges,but there are opportunities too for those who believe in excellence, professionalism,integrity,responsibility and accountability. Basically ,we have state and private universities,and deemed universities with distance education Universities,also coming up in every state. Then there are autonomous institutions,which like all other University systems have approval of UGC and are a member of Association of Indian Universities.
The purpose of this brief article is to highlight: The manner in which a V.C. is appointed in a university and the role he is supposed to play as Academic(teaching,research,and extension,and visionary development on futuristic challenges),administrative and Financial leader,director,evaluator ,mentor and monitor.
Appointment of VC has become so controversial that UGC had to set up definitive norms and eligibilty also the post has to be advertised in lead newspapers. A search Committee is framed consisting of a educationist,administrator or even a Judge,IPS etc. Members including nominees from UGC,State Government,,Chancellor( usually the Governor of the state) and a nominee from the concerned university .The search committee is supposed to follow UGC norms and by screening of applications short list five names. These are sent to the Chancellor who send three names to the Government to select a person who is then appointed as VC.So far so good. But here comes the series of what appear to be insurmountable road blocks.
There are infighting’s between local candidates in the basis of who has the strongest political support,then comes up the role of middle men,stooges and Maafia of politicians who want cash and a tacit agreement to follow their advise and orders in how to run the university in day to day basis. If the negotiations are successful ,the person is appointed for a period of three or five years. This is the time when he is under diverse pressures. His first priority is to recover the cash he has invested in getting the job_atleast three to four times. For this ,he has avenues of selection of faculty,staff,researchers,purchases,construction,library and laboratory facilities,award of research degrees_fake and real, examination,evaluation etc. He makes a kitchen cabinet of teacher politicians on the basis of his caste, political influence and criminalised professional students.A VC,s success and continuation depends on how he coordinates the functions of Teacher Politicians, Student Union and Non-teaching staff where he has to have his men.
In a secular country like India,with so much diversity,talent ,we have evolved a system in universities of Inbreeding. Scientists, Social Science ,Humanities and Experts from various parts of the country can find jobs away from other states. This has caused massive degeneration of all aspects of University systems. Inbreeding of worst types have happened. It has massively diluted the very meaning of the word University _which means for all.
A VC is called upon to mentor and monitor excellence, transparency,honesty,strict discipline,performance audit of all sections of university on a annual basis ,including himself.
The present scenario is dismal. Barring glaring exceptions,universities have become centers of corruption,bribery,criminalised administration.How does one explain the growing market of fake degrees,cut and paste method of research degrees,mass copying,favouritism in evaluation. A VC cannot say that he has no idea about all this.It is a mockery.
Education is for empowerment of all sections of Society. It has to be non discriminatory,provide gender equality and enforce work culture ,responsibility and accountability.
If the man at the top has got the position by aforesaid methods,how can he deliver?Corruption breeds corruption.How do we explain the culture of “Upar tak Dena Padta Hai”.This is now institutionalised with other names like “Setting”and you pay to get a job and you pay to get a job done.
Inbreeding in universities must stop.,there should be movement of talent ,and excellence.Let me recollect a scenario of Chinese system.China got its independence in 1948_,a year after India.Chairman Mao called a meeting of leading,scientists,educationists,Planners,economists,Engineers etc.He asked three questions:_
1.Can the present system of Education make China a super power?
2.If not then how much time will it take to make new syllabi,find areas of research etc.?
3. In the meantime what should China do?
The answer to first Question was No,to Second it was 10 to 15 years and to the third ,we must send as many young and talented people to European and North American universities for training and when they come back use their experience and expertise in your trade,commerce,military strategies,production in each home that would become a production hub. This is what did China compared to this,what did we do in our universities? Our VCs failed everywhere. At first Education was politicise,then came the phase of criminalisation of politics and now we are in phase three politicisation of criminal acts in universities.
I have been a doctoral student in McMaster University Canada,a WHO fellow in USA ,Visitiy Scientist in Several European countries.The VC there is called President. A person of impeccable excellence ,honesty and character only can be appointed to such an office.
Time for our politicians,Academic Community and other stake holders to think.Our directions are wrong and we are chasing mirages that are detrimental to our future.
About Dr. S.B. Lall:
First class First M.Sc in Zoology,Gold medalist PhD from McMaster University Canada,WHO fellow in USA,Visiting Scientist in Several European and other countries,guided 23 Doctoral theses,published over 400 articles on Education,Science & Technology,Policy Planning and Administration, Conducted over 500 lectures pan India,North America etc.