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Come elections, come advertisements... All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Modi storms Silicon Valley Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Five star activism stalls development activity Shipping woes of Chennai companies He continues the focus on social amelioration Delhi Chalo... Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Multi-faceted Venkat Polls and promises R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Tax agriculture Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Silver Years of Madras Musings Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Should we change the official year? Delhi returns to BJP London, London Narayan Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School IPL - no surprise this scam Engineering seats go abegging The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Roaring Ro-Ro facility When nations steal growth from one another… When small is no larger beautiful.. PC’s preference for professionals Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! When Ratan Tata visited SRM S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Gas is the way forward TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... A glass full of corruption L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Pharma – overdose of copying Where is Rajaji? Put expensive assets created to use... No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Revive development banks... 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Solar, solar everywhere … Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Russi Mody – a tribute Which side are you, Montek? Making ‘my Amaravati’... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… When the President was rendered homeless… No Maha Koottani in TN... Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Wise Presidents More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Why this malaise in medical education? Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks China invests in India A welcome initiative by the judiciary Shanti and Sadhana through Music The sea- saw battle continues... Delhi is distant An enemy’s enemy is a friend The nuclear option CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Moily’s bold thrust Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Revving up the manufacturing sector Small units prefers to remain small... Discoms deserve better… Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Plummeting profits of PSBs Vibrant Gujarat Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara The star of Spencers is no more Music happens Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Paytm karo... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Make standards certification mandatory... Sri Lanka votes for change Solar thermal shines… Things happen by accident and not by design... Breaththrough in malaria control Fortune 500 review B H Kothari - a tribute Excel Generators provide the vital back-up GNS - 100: our first subscriber Tough task taking states together Delhi is distant… A more liberated TN… The power-full Hindujas A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Poor quality of university VCs Welcome focus on core competence TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Auto components surge… Tribute Demise of a media baron... Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Quality silica from Neyveli Airlines in India: cost and space Welcome GST Rahman at CIC Adharma of opposition politics Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Convulsions in The Hindu Where a state respects its litterateurs… The rise and fall of Annamalai University Shale gas and its shallow future Haul over the coal No engine for this car Recognition to role of NBFCs.... 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IPL type auction for VCs?

IE has been frequently pointing to the pathetic state of affairs of universities in Tamil Nadu. There has been crass political interference. As in politics, caste considerations have become a dominant factor and merit the casualty. For some two decades now, institutionalised system of corruption that pervades Tamil Nadu has taken deep roots in higher education as well. Look at the course of Guindy Engineering College, among the three oldest engineering colleges: for decades it enjoyed a prestige that spread across the globe for churning out graduates of outstanding merit. Its standards, systems and output were on par with the IITs. When the Anna University was formed, it had outstanding educationists as VCs. Dr V C Kulandaiswamy served three terms followed by Dr M Anandakrishnan who had two terms. Both were internationally renowned academics who commanded respect for their rich and extensive contributions.

Since then we witnessed an arubathumoovar-like procession of vice chancellors with short tenures of just three years. Almost their first year is spent on understanding and getting into the nuts and bolts of administration. The second and third is meant to curry favour with the powers that be to get a second term or to get a similar posting in another university in the state. The inevitable money power creeps in.

The equally venerated Madras University has undergone a similar course. The university, which had at its helm renowned educationists like Dr A L Mudalilar, who had the longest tenure of 27 years and Dr Malcolm S Adiseshiah, who earlier served as the Deputy Director General of UNESCO with over 40 honorary doctorates across the globe to his credit, has been through a traumatic course when even the short three-year term was cut short for a few. There has been intense lobbying for membership of the search committee and bidding for the post of VC. We seem to be moving towards IPL auction-type system with aspirants making the highest offers for getting the post. The absence of concern for filling the post well before the expiry of the term of the incumbent VC, indicates the scope for canvassing with the powers that be. Can we otherwise explain the vacancy of the VCs’ posts for several top universities of Tamil Nadu including Madras University, Anna University and the Madurai Kamaraj University remaining vacant for this long?

Time was when the Secretary of Education or even the Minister of Education used to seek an appointment to meet VCs like Malcolm Adiseshiah. Recently we witnessed the VCs seeking darshan of Sasikala aka Chinnamma, charged with serious corruption practices that landed her in jail thereafter.

In this system even a meritorious educationist like Dr E Balaguruswami got hit. His tenure ended with just one term. Today you find around 100 ex-VCs floating around!

 The course of private universities is not much different: dominated by politicians, traders and businessmen, these have evolved as flourishing businesses. The vast stretches of land acquired through overt and covert means have appreciated in value though the other infrastructure and quality of staff and students are in a pathetic state. Just look at half the under-grads in engineering not getting through the exams in the first year! Several of these have been built on the illegal and pernicious system of capitation fees.

At the 150th year celebration of the Madras University the renowned educationist Dr Anandakrishnan was asked: ”when can an Indian university/academic/institution gain the reputation of a Caltech, Princeton, MIT or Cambridge?” His answer was poignant: “in a system where appointments of vice chancellors were decided by political leaders and when university vice chancellors are the sons/daughters and daughters-in-law of the promoters/proprietors and most of whom are politicians or small time businessmen, how can this happen?” He contrasted this with the reputation as an educationist built over decades needed to be appointed a president of any reputed western university.


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