Education Pollution: Substandard Schools, Decaying Higher Education, Mushrooming Coachings

There are nearly 1.2 lakh single-teacher schools in the country of which an overwhelming 89% are in rural areas. More than 30% of schools had no toilets and over 60% had no playground. The selection of the top positions of the institution has emerged as a great challenge. A research scholar who gets a UGC fellowship does not want to complete his Ph.D. work in time but tries to extend it since after his/her Ph.D. if he/she gets an appointment in a private institution, he /she will get less salary. The conditions of teachers in self-finance institutions are very pathetic. Mushrooming of coaching centres and dummy schools across all cities has misled students into believing that they can perform better in entrance exams if they go for coaching at such centres and by skipping classes in regular schools.

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Heading Towards Extinction of Formal Education?

The new trend of popularizing coaching institutions, over-dependence on digital technology, and reduced financial support to institutions of higher learning shall prove to be the death knell of our long cherished formal education. Are we giving free/subsidized education and scholarships to regular students just to enroll in the institution and join coaching classes? The ground reality is that in universities and colleges, we are teaching with the minimum number of teachers without students. The greatest threat to formal education is the recent trend of robbing universities of their academic autonomy. Policymakers have been acting as feudal lords to impose and further their agenda through higher education institutions. One of the turning points for the survival of formal education and universities could be to generate active value-based research.

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Fixing Responsibility for Wrong Appointment of a Vice-Chancellor

Recently, on 3rd March 2022, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that a state cannot legislate the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations. Therefore, if any state does not follow the apex court judgment, the appointments shall be unconstitutional. It is very unfortunate when the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor gets challenged after the selection, and the honourable courts turn down the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor on the basis of either not following the rules and regulations of the Act or the selected Vice-Chancellor not possessing the minimum qualifications as per the rules made by the UGC. If a Vice-Chancellor is removed by the Hon’ble High Court, a serious question arises in the mind – who should be held responsible for such a fault?

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Should Ph. D. be Mandatory for Assistant Professors in the University?

For a person in academia as a teacher, a Ph.D. is essential as it expands our knowledge base and keeps the learning loop continue unhindered. Ph. D. is not just a degree. While doing Ph. D. one learns how to address problems, how to behave with colleagues and how to remain calm in odd situations. Making Ph.D. mandatory for the post of Assistant Professor will only reinforce the fact that teaching is not an easy job and only dedicated candidates must enter the field. However, we should first check the mushrooming of fake Ph.D. degrees for quality assurance.

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