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Minority institutions: 21st century Madrasas; Need of secular educational institutions
It is assumed that the apparent calm on the campuses of these minority institutions is beguiling and nothing significant being contributed contemplated by these institutions.

Even uploading a photograph on the net by anybody is enough a cause for future harassment. This is true to form. Even if teachers or students ask for better infrastructure and improvement in working conditions, the same set of authorities was dissolutely agitated.

A scene can be created against such voices. Authorities are always ready to silent such voices. In most of the cases, authorities have no rational. Teachers were harassed even for writing some article that was not liked by the authorities, even some face dismissal. They use these minority institutions as their private property.

Come now to the direct threat: the ghost of autonomy. The people who control the minority institutions argue vehemently in favour of autonomy. But every progressive move by teachers, universities, UGC and HRD was damned and rejected as an assault on the minority character of the institution. They want all the rights but they are not ready to give any right to students and teachers. Even reservation to SC, ST and OBC, etc., is not implemented by so many minority institutions. Even the same phalanx damns the idea of secularism, social justice, debate and discussion.

They like a nation within the nation, separate islands controlled by the dictatorship. It is frightening that to the ruling band on minority character means to license and the unfettered rights and privileges as they please! They want all the autonomy to them but zero autonomy to teachers and students.

Complete freedom to rule-administrative, finance, academic, appointments, admissions…but no freedom to others. Even teachers have to write and publish an article according to their whims and fancies. A big no to academic freedom, but freedom is such a bad idea that they don't want to give any iota of freedom to others. That should compel us to think about the idea of minority institutions in a secular and democratic nation.

The problem with freedom is that they do not want any responsibility. Even the audit by the constitutional authorities is not appreciated by them. They even do not follow the guidelines about the minimum academic qualifications. Even people from administrative services, police services, army, church, gurudwara etc., were appointed as the Vice-Chancellors, principals and chairmen.

Academic freedom – the freedom to design their own courses, conduct their own examinations (degrees, mark sheets), appointment and admissions – is loved by them but they hate to give freedom to teachers who fear that this could infringe upon their minority rights. Even any national test for appointment and admissions is abhorred by them.

The semester system, CSIR-UGC JRF/NET Exam, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test- NEET, are resisted tooth and nail, for the very same reason. Life is no better in autonomous colleges. The agitated teachers are very well informed that there are nearly 500 autonomous institutions in India already and about the working conditions there. In Kerala alone, there are at least a dozen autonomous colleges. Affiliated and constituent colleges are far ahead of them. Teachers are surprised; some taken aback, to see the workings of affiliated undergraduate colleges. Many autonomous colleges and minority institutions have postgraduate, MPhil and doctoral programmes, professional courses, etc. But the standard is very poor in comparison of University of Delhi (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Allahabad University, IITs etc.

The workings of the autonomous institutions and minority institutions can be compared with the madrasas. They are run on public money but the administration is controlled by Churches, Maulanas, Gurudwaras or the clergies. Politics of vote banks is to blame for this but students, teachers and nation have to suffer. They are now an absolute disgrace in the 21st century.

Each time examinations are conducted, evaluations done and results announced, one can hear innumerable tales of corruption and nepotism in the media and all complain bitterly against the shoddy arbitrariness inherent in the system of autonomous and minority institutions. A few years back in an entrance test conducted for the admission for medical admissions (MBBS), for a minority character university, almost 90 per cent of pass students were from a centre alone.

Media reports are enough to prove that the interests of our students and teachers suffer in such institutions. Complaints about malpractices in exams, the substandard syllabi formulated and imposed by the un-academic power groups on the institutions have been heard far too often.

Now, again such elements emerge from the woods to hound the teachers. Not everyone speaks against them. About 90 per cent of the faculty members and students suffer silently. Hardly 10 per cent gather the courage to speak. But if any power czar of them is called separately and asked on the grounds for their informed and principled support, one can see the fun.

Secularism is not the creation of a private mind. Nor is it a conspiracy hatched by a group. Studies done by the independent body world over came to the conclusion that standards of education will improve only if educational institutions are liberated from the stranglehold of caste, religion and private regulatory bodies. Regulatory authorities were established to standardise and upgrade the quality of education but not to establish caste and communal institutions which have become, instead, huge hindrances. Dissent of teachers and students, debate and discussions are justifiable for improving education.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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