By Reji Thomas:
I write this article as a parent and also an alumnus of Christ University. I have seen generations of students enter the portals of Christ University only to leave as proud, independent and well-grounded individuals with ethics and morals. I was a student at Christ college in the year 1978- 1980, my older daughter was also a student of Christ Junior College in the year 2008 and now doing her PG in ophthalmology, and my younger daughter has finished her junior college from CJC and continues to study in the University. In addition, I stay in the neighbourhood of Christ University and am full-time Professor at a Premiere Medical Academic Institution in Bangalore working there for the past 24 years. Having a keen interest in academics and holistic development of students, I can with no hesitation and rather with immense pride say that the Christ University has been unique with its exponential growth both in quality and credibility. Testimony to its achievements and status is the international and national acclaim and ratings, justifying the reason why Christ University is the dream of many a student from across the country and abroad.
Unfortunately, this prestigious institution over the past few days has faced several allegations. Reason – putting the prime objective of the University as the priority! Yes, there was a bus strike, there was difficulty to commute! But is it right to close the college for every silly reason? The college continued with classes giving the benefit of attendance to those who could not commute. Our Former President Late Abdul Kalam did not want a holiday declared at his death. His love for academics and work exceeded petty formalities, and it is time we emulate these visionaries.
However, this issue has conveniently been mixed with several other allegations which have little or no basis. Opportunistic critics backed by few disgruntled staff, students and parents have made the best of this situation and turned a mole into a mountain. And today media believes they are kings and never seizes to miss an opportunity to hype any news (even without checking its credibility).
When a student joins an institution he/ she along with the student’s parents are fully aware of the rules and objectives of the University. These are clearly mandated in its prospectus and fully reinforced at the time of admission and introduction to the college. In addition, everyone who has heard of Christ University knows that this University is a centre of excellence with clear rules, ethics and principles. Surely it is with this knowledge that every student and parent aspires and consents to join this college. Every year students and parents, at the time of admissions, are seen running from pillar to post to get their child a seat in the University. Why? Because of the absolute fact that this University is one of the best and inculcates values, ethics and morals in every student. The management makes no request asking a particular student or parent the favour or pleasure of having them in college. It is the student and their parents who request to be a part of the student life of the college, knowing full well that no other university gives students the opportunities and avenues like Christ University does or has to offer, and gives his/ her informed consent to abide by the rules of the college however strict (even if weird) they are. Having consented, I do not think the student or his/ her parents have any right to crib. Cribbers and disgruntled individuals should leave to places which are willing to subscribe to their whims and fancies and leave the others who gel with the system in peace.
The rules, whether pertaining to dress code or attendance policies have been there for years and are informed to every student at the time of admission and every parent and student has the freedom to choose not to remain in the University and comply with such rules if they feel it is so strict and overbearing on the students. Norms like attendance, uniforms, punctuality, discipline, no alcohol etc are inherent principles of any university with calibre and credibility, and rightfully so. It is the inherent right of colleges and universities to set its own standards to achieve quality and this needs to be respected by all who want to benefit of its glory.
One of the allegations is against the punishment of students for entering the campus after consuming alcohol. I don’t find anything wrong in the suspension of students who enter the campus after consuming alcohol. It would rather be a failure of duty, on the part of the institution if this was allowed. Parents and students who think this action of the college is wrong, surely do not stand by values. As a matter of fact many of these children (as they are below 21), by law, should not be served or should not be consuming alcohol. I’m sure most parents would agree with me that they would not want their children under the legally permissible age limit of 21 years, to be consuming alcohol and entering the college premises as it is unethical and a serious disregard for the institution, its values and rules.
Another contention is the rigidity on attendance. What is wrong and why not, when the primary goal of the institution is academic excellence. Not that attendance is denied to students who represent the college in extracurricular activities.
While accepting that no individual or institution is one hundred percent perfect, the fact remains that Christ University is undoubtedly one of the best in the country. Yes, there may be differences of opinion in certain spheres, but the solution to this is not by flinging unfounded accusations, but through dialogue, opportunities for which have been provided by the college both at student meetings and parent-management meetings. The University has forums for students to bring up issues with their counsellors and the management as well. In addition open and interactive sessions with the parents are held with the various deanery Deans, HOD’s, Directors and the Vice Chancellor as well. Suggestions are gracefully accepted and apprehensions cleared at these sessions, a sight that is rarely seen in any institution.
Washing dirty linen in public is no solution. It only demeans and eats into your own credibility, your own prospects and your placements. Ownership and joint responsibility are what will pay dividends both for students and management.
Christ College you have endeavoured and struggled hard over decades to reach the pinnacle of excellence. You have moulded and produced the best of students who will, and are, your torch bearers and testimony to the world. Obstacles will always come your way, but these will help you climb greater heights.
Fear not Christ College(University), you are what you are, for the principles you stand for!
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