Falling Standards

Ideally, education in all its manifestations should be an emancipator; a force within the educated that would liberate them from evils like hypocrisy and bias. Our educational institutions should have been based on this very characteristic. Institutions of higher learning in India modeled around those of west, in spite of the infrastructure; many of these have been able to accumulate or are bereft of the fundamental motive of education, as a guiding principle. Of the various reasons responsible for it, an obvious one is political interference these have to accommodate. These institutions have never been allowed to taste the freedom required for realizing the full potential of teachers and the taught.

The toll is much higher in a conflict zone like Jammu and Kashmir. The twin Universities of Jammu and Kashmir, prominent institutions of higher learning in the state, are the quintessential cases of hypocrisy and immoral standards as a fall out of political interference.

Kashmir University has become a hyper-market of politico- academic jugglery. In connivance with insiders, politicians of all color find a garlanded podium to make noises of concern for the development of education and academicians routinely take their lessons to be disseminated in labs and classrooms. This is being done under the fa?ade of academic conferences and seminars. The end results being suspension of classroom and lab work, denial of entry to students on inaugural days for security of the visiting VIPs, loss of precious time of sincere researchers and the huge expenditure that goes in organizing the inaugural ceremonies, besides creating unrest by acts like student enrollment by National Students Union in the university after the visit of Rahul Gandhi last year which had raised many eyebrows over the visit of politicians.

The institution hosted the 8th Science Congress and no less than the vice-president of country inaugurated it. Security agencies did their drills and, as per expectations, the campus turned into a garrison on the day of the function. The campus was out of bounds for students on Sept 17, except for a selected lot, in the light of apprehensions of student unrest. The faculty was told to present themselves in the inaugural function and maintain decorum. The cost of hosting the function in the institution ran into tens of lakhs of rupees. The event will be followed by 18th Convocation on Sept 27 and the President of India will confer degree certificates to the meritorious. From 1st to 4th October, the institution will host the All India Oriental conference and union HRD minister, Kapil Sibbal, is expected to inaugurate it.

As per insiders, all the washrooms of the convocation complex, the venue of the inaugural session have all of a sudden turned dysfunctional and the construction division of the varsity has submitted a requisition for allotment of many lakhs to put back these in order.

Besides the harassment the students have to suffer in the name of security, loss of classroom and lab hours; such events demand unproductive spending, especially on lavish inaugural ceremonies. In the interests of the student community, the administrators should relook at the policy of calling in politicians resulting in wastage of resources which could be used for larger good.


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