Submitted anonymously by a former faculty member at Christ University:
The infrastructural facilities at Christ University, Bangalore are second to none. From the auditorium to the sporting arena and from the library to the canteen, modernity features. Students also get to experience teaching blended with technology – learning process at its best. The cosmopolitan nature of the campus makes it even more attractive. But do all these qualities ensure good education? The answer would be a thumping NO!
The Greek Philosopher Aristotle said, “man by nature is brute and education makes him human”. But at Christ, in the infamous nurturing ground for an individuals’ holistic development, the human element is vividly missing. Right from the time of admission through the convocation, authorities at Christ treat individuals as underdogs. They consider themselves as emperors forgetting the fact that the world is much bigger than their province.
Men in white, sitting in spacious chambers having truckles around them, make decisions regarding right and wrong believing that they are the conscience keepers of society. Primarily members of Dharmaram, which is a catholic seminary, they feel that the University should function as an extension of the seminary.
The root causes of education’s defeat at Christ starts there.
If religion urges human beings to be submissive, education exhorts them to question the existing norms only to find the deeper meaning of values and to reach at a greater understanding. No wonder then that on the research front the university’s performance has been abysmally poor. What research when the spirit of inquiry is at stake?
It is understood that in a democratic society, education strengthens democracy. To meet this end democratic education is a means. But for those priests in command of the university, democracy ends with minority rights and private educational institution’s rights.
They are unaware of the democratic rights of students. The spirit of democracy lies in the participatory decision making process. But this process looks like a distant dream for all stakeholders of the university who are only used to autocratic decision making process. The student council of the university, obviously selected and not elected, remains like a toothless Pomeranian dog when decisions are inflicted on the student community by the management.
Fear is the magic stick in the university. If priests use fear of hell to make the laity remain faithful, fear of termination from the university is used for keeping the students not open their mouth against infringement of rights.
Teachers too do not get to experience the spirit of dialogue. Those who disagree with the management are either fired or sidelined. Showing consideration for students will definitely land them in the wrong books of the management. Most of them continue in service as they get good pay compared to many other colleges in Bangalore. In effect teachers in Christ are caught between the devil and the deep sea. But the sycophants will definitely want to continue as they enjoy plum posts.
It was a surprise to many when a relatively young professor known for wide reading and for championing humanistic and progressive approaches, was given an important administrative role. Only later they realised that it was a clever move by the management to trap him and to appease the ‘local’ sentiments. Today he is a mouthpiece of the management. Power indeed corrupts!
The leaders at the university are eagle-eyed. If others wrong they will pounce on them. But what will happen when they themselves commit mistakes?
The present vice-chancellor who is popularly known as ‘Chathan’ (meaning devil in Malayalam) has been alleged to have hit students including girls in total violation of the court order on corporal punishment in educational institutions.
This all powerful man confines himself to his mighty room and is not accessible to small fries which includes students, teachers, parents, media reporters and bureaucrats among others.
Another priest at the University is allegedly known for notorious for drooling when girls approach him used to ask girls to lift their duppatta in the guise of ensuring that they were not wearing sleeveless dress. Girls who raised their voice against him were muffled and were shown the door.
Who will bell these cats?
The answer to the above mentioned question would be staff and students. Christ is not the world. The world is much bigger. The world itself is a university. If the education doesn’t encourage you to question then that is not real education. If the education doesn’t allow you to hold your head high then that is not genuine. Education is all about developing individuality. Though discipline is important, it should not be at the cost of individuality.
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