RECLAIM THE VERACITY

For generations, the native has been taught that a highest seat of learning exists on the banks of the Dal lake. The University of Kashmir has been, in fact, the main issuing authority of all the certificates that have created ‘intellectuals’, white collars, and obviously the main movers and shakers of the state. At some point of time, this university might have had some distinction fetching it a better rating without managing the score, as is the new norm. In one of the most scenic campuses, the university seems to be working in utter disregard of the established academic norms. Students enrolled with the university usually do not complete their degrees in time. A student completes M Phil in this university in the same duration which other universities require for producing a PhD. This happens even in the professional courses that are monitored and remotely managed by this campus. Even awarding the degrees and issuing them is a protracted exercise. It had led to crisis in many cases where students getting scholarships in other institutions had to beg for the academic testimonials and somehow manage it at the eleventh hour. While the state of academics it imparts and the research that this university is producing is a subject of longer debate and would require a larger space and a much large scrutiny, it is the administrative mess that is usually creating news. Universities are known for their academic output and not the clerical issues that undo the institutions. Over the years, this university has managed its distinction as being an exclusive retreat for teachers who intend to live like bureaucrats. The administration, over the years, has been purchasing fleet after fleet of vehicles to ferry the officers and teachers with an bureaucratic aura. So huge was the demand and so impressive was the response of the administration that the university at one point of time was running its own workshop. The other activity, almost every other person, was desperate to indulge in was to hire people, breaking all the established norms. A large section of the university officials have converted it into a rehabilitation ground for employing their relatives and dear ones. In certain cases, officials used their positions to get in their wards under their own signatures. There were instances when pre-requites were underwritten for pleasing personalities and the show goes on. Unlike their counterparts in other institutions within and outside the state, people manning the sprawling premises knew the requirement of being politically correct even if it means bad academics. An overwhelming situation and a massive historic knowledge bank did not trigger an iota of genius to become socially relevant. In certain cases, individuals keen to work on contemporary issues were denied entry and certain courses which might have created a new breed of professionals were systematically blacked out. But not everything has gone down the drain. Indications suggest that the incumbent boss has started encouraging moves for a better management of the campus. Official cars are withdrawn and efforts are underway to see how influences were misused to add to the liabilities. The government must back these efforts fully. Once the administrative mess is over, an effort can be made to go for a professional scrutiny to see how core competence is suffering from centrifuge and subterfuge.

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