KOLKATA: Comparing a section of universities in India as “sick industrial units” and a section of schools in the country as “lifeless water-bodies,” West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi exhorted both teachers and students alike to “redeem learning from the conveyor belt of routine”.
Addressing a congregation of teachers here on Saturday at a function organised to mark the Teachers’ Day, he came down on the authorities of a section of Indian universities which he said resembled sick industrial units with “obsolete infrastructure, poorly maintained campuses, chronically discontented non-academic staff and dispirited students.” Mr. Gandhi, who is also the Chancellor of the Calcutta University, inaugurated an exhibition of a collection of rare photographs of Dr. Radhakrishnan and documents written by him.
Long before Dr. Radhakrishnan became President, he was associated with the Calcutta University as a Professor of Philosophy in 1921 and had represented the university at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire in 1926.
Pointing out the “decline” seen in many schools, Mr. Gandhi said: “With teachers absent, children unattended and the premises uncared for, such schools across the country are profoundly depressing.” He also disapproved the trend of violence on college campuses perpetrated by students in several parts of the country.
“Today’s spectacle of campus unrest and campus violence in some Indian universities is ugly. College and university property is broken by only a section of students. Teachers are obstructed and intimidated only by a section of them.”
Observing that “generality of students” are “overawed” by such violence, even if they do not endorse it, he said that university communities must not allow it to be so. “They [university communities] must uphold order over chaos and progress over stagnation,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Advising students to “be learners first and learners last” for the sake of their own future, he asked them to seek redress through proper procedures if they “find the unwisely administration wanting in any respect.”
He urged the teachers to find time to “redeem learning” in spite of “lack of attendance, lack of interest, lack of manners and lack of appreciation” by students.