Centre for Educational Research pushed to a corner on campus

A research centre started in 2006 as a tribute to former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj is deprived of due attention in the institution bearing his name — Madurai Kamaraj University.

The State government established the first-of-its-kind Centre for Educational Research in the MKU through an announcement made by former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in Chennai during the birth anniversary celebrations of late Kamaraj on July 15 eight years ago with a grant of Rs.1 crore.

But there is no permanent building for the centre. After functioning from different places, it is now housed in the Distance Education building.

Senior professors and syndicate members told The Hindu on Wednesday that the centre was handicapped by space and staff constraints.

“Though there are a couple of dedicated faculty members, the centre could not perform its role well. One reason for this was that it was not linked to or integrated with the university’s Department of Education. Proposals made to give it a unique identity were not taken seriously,” a Syndicate member said.

The Kamaraj centre was functioning from a building behind the MBA wing, but the university authorities vacated it to accommodate the newly started Film Studies and Tourism Management courses.

A senior professor associated with the centre said there were only three faculty members and a director taking care of its activities.

“Our mandate is to give scientific inputs and reports for State government’s education and social welfare policies. But how can it cater to the entire State with inadequate staff and building?” a professor asked.

Teaching staff said the centre could not take up district-specific issues with this staff and meagre funds.

“We can’t do up to the expected levels even now. The launching of film and tourism courses overshadowed this centre,” a Syndicate member said.

The staff members are loaded with administrative work rather than sampling and research works, according to varsity authorities. “We will take steps to give the attention it deserves,” a senior official said.

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