Kerala: The politicization of the LDF falls the status of higher education

The politicization of the LDF falls the status of higher education in Kerala

Even if a university does not exist to produce ordinary pupils, how can one expect faculty members who entered the building illegally to mentor students to be outstanding in their fields?

Kerala has one of India’s highest rankings for educational excellence. But the country’s higher education industry continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who has a “volcanic” relationship with the government that alternates between eruption and hibernation, is incensed by the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s reforms in the sector. The Governor has complained about nepotism in the nomination of the Chief Minister’s private secretary’s wife as an associate professor at Kannur University. It also indicates, however somberly, the status of Kerala’s higher education system that he called the Vice Chancellor a criminal for plotting an attack on him.

Why is the higher education industry in Kerala of such poor quality?

Chancellor of the Institution of Travancore, Kerala’s first university, Maharaja Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, sought Albert Einstein to serve as his vice-chancellor in 1937. The Princeton Institute of Advanced Study was where Einstein wanted to stay, though. CV Raman, Julian Huxley, and Meghnad Saha were all given consideration for the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor.

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The state government is attempting to usurp the control of the committee by using a Bill to insert extra members attached to the government and the higher education council, to influence the outcome of the selection. The Chancellor of that university, now known as the University of Kerala, formed a search committee today to find a replacement for the departing Vice-Chancellor. The Left Front administration is doing all in its ability to restrict the Chancellor’s authority across the board on various fronts.

University politicization was discussed by a high-level commission that was constituted last year. It did, however, oddly suggest that each university have its chancellor. The politicization of its governing bodies taints the actual autonomy of colleges. Instead of having political appointees on such boards, academics and specialists should be proposed. Only they can follow through on the lofty financial promises made by research centres, start-ups, mini-industrial units, and scientific parks; otherwise, they would only tempt us for a short time before dying naturally.


Capacity Issues Among Faculty

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The current Vice Chancellor of Kannur University is allowed a second term, and the opposition claims that the choice of the Associate Professor is a pay-off. The nomination of their spouses due to “superior interview performance”—even though they performed poorly in other stages of the selection process—has led to numerous other politicians from the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) facing similar accusations.

Subject matter specialists have occasionally claimed that rank lists were “inverted” to favour political choices. On the interview panels at several colleges, it’s common to see the same individuals who are accused of showing favouritism. Even the governor, who was incensed, announced he would look into the nominations made to institutions during the preceding three years. How can one expect faculty members who unlawfully entered the building to mentor students to be great in their disciplines, even though universities do not exist to generate ordinary students?

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Traditional Teaching Techniques

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Instead of engaging students through interactive sessions and research, many higher education institutions in Kerala still use the outdated practice of dictating notes to them. Those who think beyond passing grades on the edge may find this useless. To the dismay of other universities, students who fare very well in Board examinations would, in turn, remove themselves from local institutions and pursue further education outside the state. This was ascribed to Kerala’s much-criticized “liberal” value system.

Better career possibilities are a contributing factor in some of this movement, but Kerala’s lacklustre higher education standards are a cause for concern. Therefore, Kerala’s universities lose local talent to them in addition to not drawing potential from other states.


Absence Of Policy-Making

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The CPI(M) is responsible for organizing violent demonstrations against private funding of higher education before backing down subsequently and endorsing such funding. The development of effective policies to regulate the industry is hampered by this conflict. Kerala has to go past the “100% literacy” milestone as its top educational accomplishment. What has been constructed on top of this accomplishment is mainly unknown. Kerala requires policies to modernize its curricula, create faculty development programs, and provide infrastructure to support expansion.

No one can revitalize the sector better than Sree Narayana Guru, the state’s most prominent social reformer, who advocated education to improve society and cautioned against fighting over caste or religion. Sadly, a member of Guru’s group made the claim two years ago that the state’s Muslim then-minister of higher education had pressured the government to choose a member of his faith as vice chancellor of a newly established institution bearing Guru’s name. That is where the lack of vision of the policymakers resides.

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edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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