Saturday, May 28, 2011

An open letter to the Vice-Chancellors

The Island, 27/05/2011, By G.N. Nandimithra

Fr. Mervyn Fernando’s letter in "The Island" of 25th May with the above caption deserves commendations from all those who value higher education in this country. With unquestionable and relevant credentials his challenge to the VCs must be met by at least one of them, or on behalf of others as well. Having said so one needs to be reminded that VCs today are not selected on criteria applicable a few decades ago.

Now it is not so much for their academic or intellectual standing as for their loyalty to the party in power. In other words it is not ‘quality’ as academics generally understand but the ability to genuflect, be ‘yes’ men or women for any or all proposals submitted by the UGC, whether relevant, useful or an improvement on what obtains now.

How many VCs in privacy complain about shortages of staff, poor facilities, inadequate finances, etc. to deans and academic staff at closed door meetings? But will they ever place on record all these deficiencies or inadequacies and forward to the UGC, Secretary of Ministry of Higher Education or the Minister himself? These are the gutless, spineless but pompous VCs basking in the glory of reflected or delegated power whose main aim is to keep their superiors happy by whatever means fair or foul.

Many academics have already expressed their opinions, mostly critical, of this so called `Army leadership training’. But once the omniscient and almost omnipotent Minister of Higher Education has spoken no lesser mortal would dare contradict him! The tone of his expressions and ranting, his mannerisms and the scarcely concealed threats remind one of an inebriated man drunk with power-hence one who is more suited to be in charge of unskilled labour rather than a group of docile unsophisticated juveniles in quest of a university education!

Anyway let us hope that at least one VC would respond to the questions a, b, and c raised by Fr. Mervyn Fernando, a concerned academic, in his letter to the VCs.

G.N. Nandimithra


Read: Open Letter to the Vice-Chancellors - by Fr. Mervyn Fernando