Politics adds positive dimension to education

Kerala campuses have myriad problems such as inadequate infrastructure, deficiencies of faculty in terms of numbers and quality, inadequate use of technology, lack of academic autonomy for colleges, absence of good quality research, infrequent changes in syllabi, student indiscipline and violence, the drug and alcohol menace and gender injustice. Some of these could be attributed to irresponsible political leadership and students becoming pawns in the hands of politicians, but banning campus politics is like throwing the baby with the bath water. We need to work on specific problems to turn our campuses into institutions of excellence.

In a democratic society, in which politics plays a vital role, the sooner the students imbibe the spirit of principled politics the better. My own experience in the college was that membership of a political group on the campus bestows a certain sense of responsibility on students and a sense of comfort that their rights would be protected. When the authorities take decisions that impinge on their future, they have a vehicle to seek redress through discussion and debate. Protests and strikes may become necessary, but as long as they do not deteriorate into violence, they teach them valuable lessons for the future.

The fear that campus politics will adversely affect academic standards does not seem to have any basis, as I have seen many student leaders doing equally well in class. They aspire to be role models. If they mature into responsible politicians, society benefits, as has happened in the case of many leaders in Kerala itself, who sharpened their political skills in the crucible of student politics. Without campus politics, it is possible that communities and castes will become the rallying points for students, leading to extremism and fundamentalism.

The answer to the emergence of violence and indiscipline in campus politics is framing of appropriate rules of conduct, which should be enforced.

Like in many democratic countries, politics and public policy should be part of the curriculum to provide the theoretical foundation for their practical experience.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:37:18 PM |

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