The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday expressed a deep sense of anguish over the field of education being “perverted” with people accumulating degrees in unconnected disciplines through lateral entry system and obtaining even doctorates in a particular discipline without undergoing a basic graduation course in the subject.

Dismissing a writ petition filed by a zoology graduate who aspired to become an English teacher in government service on the strength of certain post graduate degrees obtained by her through lateral entry, Justice V. Ramasubramanian said: “It is quite unfortunate that in our country, due to lack of employment opportunities, people study all kinds of courses and obtain all kinds of qualifications.

“While there can be no objection to the acquisition of any number of qualifications in completely unrelated disciplines, the order in which such qualifications are obtained, exhibits a very disturbing trend. Some of the cases that have come up before me illustrate the extent to which the field of education has been perverted. I would not venture to record who is responsible as it may lead to very embarrassing conclusions.”

Listing cases that were heard by him, the judge said that in one case a candidate who studied a three-year B.Sc., course in physics gained lateral entry into the third year of B.A. (English Literature) and acquired the latter degree without passing the science course. In another case, a candidate who had completed first year of B.Sc. (Chemistry) joined second year B.A. (English Literature) and completed the English course.

A few candidates had obtained post graduate degrees and even doctorates before acquiring a bachelor’s degree in the same discipline. After the Supreme Court recently disapproved of the practice of people obtaining degrees through open universities without undergoing formal schooling, such degree holders have started to appear for higher secondary examinations as private candidates.

“In other words, a normal student completes 10 years of schooling, two years of higher secondary course, three years of an undergraduate degree and two years of post graduate degree. But I have had cases of candidates, who have started studying these courses in the reverse order namely completing the post graduate degree first and undergoing bachelor’s degree thereafter.

“Yet another shocking invention of recent origin is the offering of bachelor’s degree courses in engineering through distance education programme. It is quite unfortunate that universities driven by commercial considerations not only offer all types of courses to all but also allow candidates to study these courses in vertical, horizontal and even reverse orders,” the judge added.

There might not be objection to the government recognising such degrees for the purpose of employment in all other services, but “it is impossible to conceive that they could be recognised for appointment as teachers.”

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