‘Mentoring’ our ministers

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

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‘Mentoring’ our ministers

Swapnil Bharali | April 06, 2018 20:29 hrs


An all women’s university, clearly established in haste, with a “Mentor” for a Vice Chancellor, a chief minister for a Chancellor, professors contracted and not appointed - on ad hoc basis - and enrolled students embroiled in a situation where their future lies uncertain to the point that they are agitating instead of studying: nothing can be a more perfect recipe for a controversial disaster.

 

From the ruckus seen in the assembly on Thursday last, one thing can be safely inferred. Former chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, had more than just the interests of students in mind when he established his “dream project” – the Assam Women’s University at Jorhat – without taking into confidence his then education minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Obviously, the sorry state of affairs that the university finds itself in today gives a piqued Himanta the payback opportunity on a platter.

 

The problem, and I wince as I say this, is the verbal sparring between the two political heavyweights on the floor of the house and on Twitter pushing the state into a situation that is nothing short of mortifying in front of the world.

 

Closer to town, G Plus had already reported on the Gauhati University – Bodoland University imbroglio where 23 colleges affiliated to Bodoland University were re-affiliated to Gauhati University whereby the affected students had to undergo a mid-term switch of syllabuses. Examinations were delayed by months; precious time of students was lost. Why? Because an “established” university seemingly did not fulfil some vital criteria that was expected from it to impart higher education.

 

If this pitiful practice of repeatedly putting the cart before the horse in the state’s higher education scenario continues – before and after change of regimes – it sends the wrong signals all over the world and especially to potential employers with whom our educated students would possibly seek employment. Their very educational credentials will be the first thing that will be questioned. Perhaps it already is. Indeed, very sadly, this is a clear case of the government playing with the lives and the future of students.

 

Forget Mentor and VC appointments at these universities established out of political compulsions, I am beginning to strongly believe that it is our ministers who require mentoring!

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