Not only students, university administrations too guilty of prevailing unrest
We have been witnessing grim battle of wits and stones in various universities for last many years. No doubt politics has crept in the learning but it always infected the educational institutions and we continued to blame the students of this unrest. Jawaharlal Nehru University of Delhi is ill- reputed in matters of trouble amongst student and the authorities. No doubt the conduct of the students and their political leaning in vulgar slogans are condemnable yet they too have genuine grievance which need to be addressed.
Let us not forget that the higher education has grown phenomenally in India and it needs great care and funds to give best to the future citizens of the nation. While in 2009 there were 181 universities or colleges of higher education today the sea change has taken place with 222 universities. Latest tally including private universities would be 1250 Today almost four crores students are attending the graduate or undergraduate courses. It is a huge fund of talent and big responsibility for the state to carefully handle the young minds.
Nations are now acutely developing consciousness to develop and cultivate intellectual assets which are the source of economic development and scientific success. Higher education is therefore of cardinal importance to advance a country. Unfortunately we are lagging behind the developed nations on this score and progress is limited. In the world English speaking universities are pursuing excellence and score high on achievements. A university is known for the distinguished contribution to art science and invention. India hardly filed 88patents in 1988-89.In the top ten universities of Asia there is none from India. Out of thirteen hundred universities not more than 7 universities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kanpur, Madras Kharagpur etc only count for the claim to macth world standards.
Univerfsities must go out to get the bestw talent and competence of the teachers. It is interesting to observe what Harvard university does to select best teachers. They make catalogue of the best available teachers and then continue improving the list to have top talent whatever the cost. Present Indian practice of Government service where scales and grades are fixed rigidly by various bodies that control the academia. First the talent and top caliber is considered and only later the price is negotiated. In general the routine contrwactual system is also to go with the race to fit in the prices. Here the competence is considered first and not the cost. After the decision to consider the best available teachers in the discipline is made, the process follows to go to the compensation negotiation. The best university must attract best talent at whatever the price. In India even private instutions are following government guide lines or keeping the compensation in tune with prevailing government standards. Rightly World Bank says ‘Government has been a big problem in India’.
The teacher influences students with his ability and caliber. Students tend to respect such outstanding talents, as are known to the academic world. Biggest issue in student unrest is that teachers have no rapport with the students.
In clinical studies it is shown that there are delinquent parents and not delinquent children. Instead of blaming students let the teachers look within. There is not mentoring in the colleges. In our ancient tradition we had guru shishiya relatgionship and learning. Students shared with Guru all the problems and Guru helped him to overcome those. I introduced in many colleges the mentoring system. The result of such intimate sharing of knowledge and issues leads to improved learning and relationship. But in present system the entire teaching is impersonal. Political leaving and raising antinational slogans cannot be brought from outside unless the students are untouched by the values of the teachers or the institution.
When I believe that delinquency comes from home or the organization I mean not only the families of pupils but also the system in which they are exposed to the management. If a student was paying Rs 20 for a hostel room why all of a sudden it is raised to 500? Why it was not raised for ten years? In institutions of higher learning there is lack of proper Human resource Management as teachers might not be trained in it. The system of participative management in universities can involve students in consultation and joint functioning with administration in many areas like hostels canteen maintenance of common gardens or infrastructure issues. Universities need a strong and over reaching human resource management. This exclusive departments manned by professionals will have the responsibility to link administration and the students.
There is no use blaming students only when we have not done our home work to take care of them and to hone the structure to foster harmony.
By Prof. NK Singh
(The writer is International Management Adviser.)