Tamil Nadu

School education on a roll, universities under a cloud

Madurai Kamaraj University. File

Madurai Kamaraj University. File   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

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From V-C appointments to marks-for-favours, higher education hit a low in 2018

The year began on a positive note with the government promising to draft non-governmental organisations and corporate houses into helping upgrade facilities in its schools. It maintained the momentum with a promise to enable 381 schools with wi-fi in March.

The introduction of QR codes in textbooks under the new syllabus was a hit with students who enjoyed the freedom of learning at their own pace.

Curtailed syllabus?

The low point was when School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan announced at a meeting in December that the government was considering curtailing the syllabus as teachers were finding it difficult to complete. Incidentally, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has also suggested a reduction in the NCERT syllabus for Central Board of Secondary Education schools.

School education on a roll, universities under a cloud
 

Though no final decision has been made yet, educationists wonder if all the good work done over the last two years will come undone if the State and Centre decide against the continuation of the present syllabus. It was not a great year though for higher education. Vice-chancellor appointments in State universities generated a lot of controversy with political parties venting their displeasure.

Credibility hit

Corruption, allegations of favours to students in exchange for being pliant, searches by the Directorate of Anti-Vigilance and Corruption officials in houses and offices of V-Cs made headlines.

In February, the DVAC trapped Bharathiar University V-C A. Ganapathy, rendering the institute headless. In March, Anna University’s former V-C M. Rajaram faced charges of corruption in the recruitment of teachers. The University was in the eye of the storm with several officials being accused of taking money and helping students pass exams.

In April, a scandal rocked the State with the leak of audio tapes of a college teacher urging students to do as expected by “higher officials of the Madurai Kamaraj University” in return for higher marks in their semester examinations, money and admission to higher-level courses in the university.

Governor targeted

Political parties continued to target Governor-Chancellor Banwarilal Purohit and alleged that he had received favours in return for appointments. They objected to the appointment of candidates from other States as Vice-Chancellors to Dr. Ambedkar Law University and Anna University.

The situation became tense with MKU V-C P.P. Chellathurai seeking legal intervention. In June, the court threw out his appointment, leaving the University without a V-C, in less than a year since his appointment.

The situation has improved with the V-C search committee finalising a list of 10 persons for the post. In a couple of days the Governor is expected to announce a new V-C for MKU.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 12:02:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/school-education-on-a-roll-universities-under-a-cloud/article25844805.ece

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