Mast Kalandar

bandar's colander of random jamun aur aam

Sun, 24 Aug 2014

Frying Pan to Fire


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A lot of people in academia cheered when Mr. Kapil Sibal was re-shuffled out of the position of Minister for Human Resource. Even those who agreed with his motives felt that his style of functioning (especially on the issue of modifying the IIT-JEE) was too autocratic. A similar cheer went through some academics when Prof. Dinesh Singh was forced to withdraw the four-year undergraduate programme at Delhi University; its introduction too was "from above".

These cheers have probably died down, now that people have realised that the current Minister for Human Resource, Ms. Smriti Irani, like Mr. Arjun Singh before her, is not only autocratic but has her target firmly pinned on the "numbers game".

We may bemoan the high-handed and aristrocratic people who prefer to avoid the "cattle class". However, those of them who have had a proper education know its value. According to the others, educational innovation should only focus on how soon we can produce (each year) 6000 people with PhD certificates and proportional representation from all the reserved categories; silimarly scaled up numbers of M.Tech's, MBA's, B.Tech's and so on. This is because, for them, academia has no other purpose than to "certify" the prepared-ness of various people for the national and international job market. This is why "social justice", in the eyes of the powerful, has never been about the proportional right to quality education---it has been about a right to proportional distribution of B.Tech. certificates from big-name institutes.

The notion of "Institutional Autonomy" has, in any case, been ground into the dust over the last many decades, so it is time for academia to learn to appreciate a dictator who appreciates academics, over one who does not.


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