Thursday, June 14, 2012

State of our State Universities

Exhibit A: The sad saga of the Department of Crystallography and Biophysics at the University of Madras.

Exhibit B: An appeal from several scholars urging the Kerala government: Don't mess with autonomy of M.G. University.

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Bonus: This one is not about state universities, but about an obnoxious feature of our funding agencies: the clout of their finance officials [pdf].


  1. Vijay said...

    On the Bonus point. Congrats to Gowrishankar for his persistance and for writing up the results of his efforts!
    It good to know what exactly happens. The solutions are actually simple but require some similar persistance to implement successfully. Knowing what to do is an important first step.

  2. Amit Awekar said...

    Computer science department of Pune University has story just like the Physics department of Madras University.

  3. gaddeswarup said...

    I have been wondering about the autonomy in the universities. My impression from the few universities that I have seen, there is less freedom of expression with in departments than outside. One may be able to talk freely about politics but about the relative importance of subjects to teach, topics to promote, the interests of the powerful with in the departments seem to matter and there is a tendency to build their own little empires. Often the less powerful, particularly the new staff have no choice but to follow the research interests of the seniors for job security, funding etc. I do not see how to get around this kind of constraints unless the systems are very open. May be RTI and such would help.

  4. Anonymous said...

    It is a pity that a department once headed by GNR is in such a pathetic situation.

    From a completely different standpoint, I somehow feel that the way out of all this mess is private philanthropists establishing universities and promoting research. Of course, we are looking at a scale of 70-80 years for such institutions to excel and earn a name for themselves. Anything the Government touches doesn't seem to work. A Midas touch of different sorts, perhaps!

  5. Anonymous said...

    PV Indiresan's sarcasm is an echo of the reality described in the article on Madras Univ's GNR department. Caste politics aka social engineering has played havoc with higher education. Case in point. GNR was honded out by a bunch of philistine thugs - the Kazhagam crooks