Says State Government and university management should work in tandem
Annamalai University can be retrieved from the financial abyss and its glory can be restored by adopting certain pragmatic measures, according to C. R. Lakshmikandan, former member of the Syndicate, Senate and the Academic Council of the university.
Mr Lakshmikandan, former MLC, told The Hindu that in this endeavour the Tamil Nadu government and the university management should work in tandem. The problem should not be treated in isolation as if it concerned only the university management.
Since the issue concerned the academic career of 30,000 students and the livelihood of 12,500 teaching and non-teaching staff it must be treated as a social crisis that ought to be solved without any delay.
As a prerequisite, the university must reopen (anticipating trouble from the agitated staff, it is closed indefinitely).
If at all there was excess staff, it was owing to the oversight or the indifference of representatives of the State government.
The immediate step to be taken is to stop all new recruitments and until full job security is assured to the existing staff no fresh recruitment should be made.
After the situation improves, recruitment could be resumed with permission from the Tamil Nadu government. The recruitment process should pay attention to important factors such as qualification of candidates and the reservation policy.
He stated that the university must not only restart undergraduate courses, which it abruptly cancelled since 1980 without ascribing any valid reasons, but should also introduce latest courses in aeronautics, architecture, nano technology, catering, and atomic and space sciences. This would result in considerable increase in the enrolment of students which in turn would also improve the revenue generation of the university.
Mr. Lakshmikandan said the management should ensure that no malpractices occur in admission and evaluation of answer scripts.
Once these anomalies were removed, the standard of education would improve several notches and such a trend would attract more number of students to the university.
Mr. Lakshmikandan said the management should invariably plough back the capitation fee or donations obtained from students of medical, dental, engineering, agriculture and educational courses.
This would enable the university to get an additional revenue of Rs 150 crore annually, he said.
He also noted that the university, situated on a sprawling 1,200-acre land, could hive off the excess or unused land, as it would fetch substantial money which it could deposit in banks and utilise the interest for running the day-to-day affairs.
In the vacant sites, the university could go for captive power generation by installing solar panels.
Mr. Lakshmikandan said owing to constant flow of visitors and guests all the 120 rooms in the guesthouse of the university remained occupied on a daily basis.
If the university starts collecting rent for these rooms, except from official guests, considerable revenue could be generated. Mr. Lakshmikandan observed that it was sad that in the 20-member Syndicate there were 10 Deans of various departments, but in the domineering presence of the management representatives they used to be tongue-tied and not utter a single word at any of the sessions.
The Syndicate should be reconstituted with renowned academicians and they should be given freedom to act.