Sunday, December 24, 2006

If this doesn't worry you, I don't know what will ...


In an otherwise poorly drafted (poorly edited?) article, K.H. Prabhu gives us an insider's account of what happens in our run of the mill (engineering) colleges when it's time for getting accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

As soon as colleges received intimation about the visit of the NAAC there was an atmosphere of Gogol's The Inspector General in a college where I worked. For the first time there was indexing of books in the library. Students were permitted to enter the prohibited area, the college library. Teachers and principals began to maintain records. Buildings were repaired and whitewashed. Signboards indicating many academic activities, though fake, appeared at various places in the college. Everything was stage-managed.

The members of the council arrived and they were kept in some kind of unlawful confinement. Their rooms were guarded and they were not allowed to move alone or meet anyone. The meeting with the parents was superficial. Ex-students were invited on a selective basis. Only such men were invited as would not divulge the truth about the college. ...

3 Comments:

  1. Rahul said...

    I heard that some decades ago, in some of our "eminent" universities, the library was a prohibited area -- for the faculty. They were supposed to call and say what they wanted, and a peon would bring it to them. Those who went there on their own two legs were pulled up for demeaning the prestige of the institution...

    I'm not sure whether that still happens, but certainly in many places you're served tea in your office -- it's beneath one's dignity to go to a common tea-room.

  2. Abi said...

    Rahul: While the problem you point to is interesting and probably quite common in some of our colleges, Prabhu's article is more about how the library and other academic facilities are off-limits -- by diktat -- for both students and faculty. Prabhu's other points raise serious questions about the ability of NAAC to monitor our colleges and universities.

  3. Rahul said...

    I know - that was just by the way. Our private engineering colleges are a horror story, and both your state and mine abound with examples. The NAAC needs to do anonymous, unannounced checks.

    But the other half of the problem is the parents who want an engineering (or medicine) degree for their children at any cost. I can't understand investing 10 lakhs in such a worthless degree but I know very respectable people who've put their children through it (and regretted it). If you invest 10 lakhs wisely you're already financially secure. These colleges exist because the market for them exists. We need to educate parents, even more urgently than children.