Quality of education and universities

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that a new university will be set up, this one in South Dinajpur district. There are twenty-six universities in the State now but the quality of education has been declining steadily. Now there are demands that students who did not attend classes for the requisite number of days should also be allowed to sit for examination. The pressure to get the students passed, regardless of their standard of education, is there and not in West Bengal alone. Except a very small number of talented students, most that are routinely passed and promoted every year. When they pass out of the colleges and universities, many of them are found unemployable. It would be unfair to blame the students alone. There are a number of factors which have contributed to the decline in the standard and growth of education. Even the Chief Minister has asked the Education Minister to ‘do something’ for the students who have been debarred from sitting for exams.
Several universities in this State do not have the requisite number of teaching and supporting staff. The libraries are rarely used by the students, except a few. Unless the standard of education is raised and the students are imparted the education that will enable them to get jobs, opening new universities will serve very little purpose. If many students pass exams but learn very little, then the cause has to be gone into seriously. Why has the atmosphere in the educational institutions been vitiated to the extent that university students dare to slap their professors?  Vice-Chancellors in most universities either themselves seek to be relieved of their duties or forced to leave long before the end of their term.
The anarchy prevailing in the field of education in West Bengal is a serious problem. This situation was not created overnight but was allowed to develop over a long period. Many factors are responsible for this. Appointing favourites of the ruling party as teachers (at all levels) without requisite qualifications or professional competence, encouraging divisive politics among students, a tendency to defy the teachers, enrolling students after paying heavy ‘donations’ to particular students’ unions for admission – all these vitiated the atmosphere in educational institutions, embittered relations between teachers and students and set one group of students against another along political lines. Unless the educational system is purged of these negative factors, increasing the number of universities will serve little purpose except propaganda.

Monday, 5 March, 2018