Sunday, September 07, 2008

NKC on India's World Class Universities

Whoever thought of calling some of our proposed institutions "World Class Universities" -- just like the one who coined "Institutions of National Importance" -- deserves some serious punishment. I have no idea why we go for, and accept, such insults to other institutions which, going by this terrible terminology, are "mere" universities -- non-world-class and non-nationally-important.

Since the government has proposed creating over a dozen of these beasts (I mean the WCUs), the UGC has drafted legislation with this horrendous title: "Indian World Class University System Act." This draft has been circulated (no, I haven't seen it), and the National Knowledge Commission has responded with suggestions for quite a few amendments. One of them is to call the legislation "National Universities System Act," which is something that's eminently worthy of our support.

There are more substantive recommendations, including a demand for autonomy for these proposed universities, another about small governance mechanisms, and a suggestion that this Act be applicable to universities that may be created by non-profit organizations.

The NKC missive -- which is just three pages long -- is here. Do check it out.


  1. Kishore Budha / किशोर बुधा said...

    This "world class" frame has been shamelessly borrowed from the neo-liberalism unleashed on higher education at UK and Australia.

    It is very comical when VCs, marketing managers bandy this term.

    Let us see what the letter says:

    In order to maintain the quality of these Universities, mechanisms should be in place to monitor and evaluate the performance and progress of teachers including peer reviews. The procedures and results ofthese evaluations should be open and transparent

    Well, anybody who has cast a critical glance at RAE in the UK will know that such rhetoric should be taken with large doses of salt. This will lead to large scale managerialism in universities leading to the creation of supine academics slaves to academic targets.

    If you have worked in any contemporary UK university, you will wonder if this has been ghost written.