Mangalore, Jan 21 (ANI): The Union Government's recent submission before the Supreme Court to derecognise 44 Deemed to be Universities reminds me of the famous quote of Wolfgang Pauli, a great scientist, while describing an article written by a colleague-"It is not right, it's not even wrong".
The Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has taken a right step to cleanse the stables, but a little too late as most of the horses have already bolted.
He couldn't have helped that as he came on the scene just now. I only hope that this does not become another of those political rhetorics that dies with a whimper when the vested political interests tighten the screws on their right connections.
The cancer has originated in the watch dog bodies that allowed those sub-standard institutions to be started in the first place. The latter have now grown strong enough to even withstand the governmental controls.
Power, money, muscle, religion, and political clouts, run any country, leave alone our nascent democracy.
It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, years ago, the only truth about democracy that applies in this case of Deemed Universities very aptly. Our learned Minister needs to take note of that warning.
Franklin said: "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism-ownership of the government by an individual, or a group of individuals."
We already see this in many areas of Indian democracy. For God's sake let that not happen in the area of education which is supposed to prepare our citizens to be good human beings with ethical values.
The common man must be very vigilant in any democracy as otherwise our systems degenerate.
I think it is not a bad idea for Sibal, to let this topic be in the public domain for sometime for the people to arrive at some final conclusions rather than take hasty decisions based on a single report.
Just because there are a few corrupt institutions that are sub-standard, we can not throw the baby and the bath tub out of the window just because the bath water is dirty. Although it is not a bad idea it is impractical for the simple reason that our Governments alone will not be able to cater to the needs of nearly 700-800 million young men and women craving for higher education in the next few decades.
That apart, the Central and State Universities, those sacred Temples of learning, have become greater dens of corruption than the Deemed to be Universities where, the decision makers are chosen on the whims and fancies of the politicians rather than on their pure merit.
Private-public partnership is a reality but the ethical control over the for-profit private entrepreneurs will have to be zealously guarded by a well oiled, non-corrupt, watch dog body comprising of men of statue and good standing in society whose selection must be unbiased devoid of ANY political pressure.
The only reservation in that position must be for those with one hundred per cent honesty and not caste, creed, colour, forward or backward class. The selection should not be on their reputation but on their character. Just as we are better off in a system where we have the government of laws rather than government of men, we should have this watch dog body governed by laws only.
If needed we could have the conventional UGC which should deal ONLY with grants and not quality of education. The new apex body suggested above must have a humane educationist (definition is not one who has built educational institutions) with very robust educational anubhooti to draw his/her strength from.
Our primary education is in a chaotic mess as of now with all kinds of extraneous pressures building around the system, least of all the varying governmental controls. At primary level education must be educere (delivering the best out of the genius of every newborn child) rather than educare (stuffing controlled curriculum into the child "to be converted into an idiot" in school).
Examinations at the year end for promotion are the bane of getting the best out of the child. Let the politicians not play with the future of our innocent children. Education in the mother tongue is now scientifically known to be the best for the child. A child can learn any number of languages.
English and other languages, if need be, could be taught as a subject and not as medium of instruction in that age group.
I wish our well meaning minister all the best in his crusade to cleanse education of all unwanted pressures and pulls. If he could stand up to vested interests he will go down in history as one of India's greatest education ministers.
Those vital decisions like abolishing Deemed to be Universities should not be taken as a knee jerk reaction but should be well thought out holistic approach to the problem. While many such institutions could be bad there are quite a few which are excellent.
May wisdom prevail on those bad ones to change their course. Education should not be a business, but running an institution IS a business. The latter in the area of education must be humane ethical business and not money making racket doling out degrees for money! Let us not leave any authority exist which is not responsible to the people of this country. (ANI)
Dr B M Hegde is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University. email@example.com By Dr. B M Hegde(ANI)