Avinash Gangolli (name changed on request) joined the Science Department in Mangalore University last year with the hope of realising his dream of becoming a key executive in an industry. Now he has quit the department, unable to bear the alleged “insults” he was subjected to by the faculty.

Admitting that his ego was also to be blamed for the shift in career choice, as he has now joined a B.Ed. course, Mr. Gangolli feareds that the faculty of the department may influence his final marks if he identifies himself. This is because his present institution is affiliated to the same university.

The most common issue of discussion on the campuses and hostels, according to students of Mangalore University, is the game of one-upmanship teachers play. “The teacher-teacher conflict has had telling impact on students,” one of them said.

While universities are expected to be research-oriented, students think that teachers are not academically oriented and, as a result, the idea of conducting meaningful research has suffered. Giving credence to these views was B.A. Vivek Rai, Guest Professor, Department of Indology, Institute of East and South Asian Studies, University of Wurzburg, Germany. He had earlier served in the Mangalore University's Kannada Department.

“Our teachers exhaust their time and energy in attending meetings and in administrative work. There is no time, space or motivation for them to do research,” he said. Vice-Chancellor of Yenepoya Univesity Syed Akheel Ahmed pointed out that many so-called research works are attempts at “adding data to data” rather than contributing something new to society.

To achieve the goals of education, Prof. Rai suggested a shift from producing graduates for the job market to adding to existing knowledge.

Each institution should have two sections: one set of teachers to teach and another to conduct research. “We do have excellence and universities have enough powers to do wonders, academically. A university means its faculty. Faculty should design innovative courses or research projects and convince the vice-chancellor and the decision-making bodies and go ahead with them,” Prof. Rai said.

It appears a degree of good learning environment exists in the National Institute of Technology-Karnataka. Chintan Modi, who studied M.Tech in Computer Science there and is presently a research engineer at the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), and Darshak Trivedi, Head of the Department of Chemistry, state that the atmosphere is conducive toe academic pursuit at NIT-K.

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