[lg policy] How students misuse their power

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Apr 24 11:12:40 EDT 2019

How students misuse their power Hans News Service  |  Updated On:  23 April
2019 3:16 PM HIGHLIGHTS It has become a subject of analysis as to what
extent are the students’ demands legitimate? Are they politically
motivated? It is a fact that comparatively the students of the South are
more responsible and our universities are better than the other
universities in the country. It has become a subject of analysis as to what
extent are the students' demands legitimate? Are they politically
motivated? It is a fact that comparatively the students of the South are
more responsible and our universities are better than the other
universities in the country. Student indiscipline began in states like West
Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and the then Union Territory, New Delhi. The
fall of the Chimanbai Patel Ministry in the 1970s is not the only instance
of a government being toppled by a student agitation. The Ministry of
Orissa had to resign in 1964 as a result of series of student
demonstrations. The anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu forced the Union
Government to postpone and reconsider the implementation of its language
policy. The student agitations are mostly sporadic and local factors
predominantly play their role. Will someone listen to our song of woe? The
girls in Kerala went on a musical satyagraha in 1971 to protest against fee
hike. Also Read - Global warming shrank Indian economy by 31 per cent
Advertise With Us In the year 1973 it spread to Mumbai. There was a student
upsurge and irate young men and women (other than students also) went on a
rampage at the university of Mumbai until the Vice Chancellor and the
Principals of affiliated colleges conceded their demands. Also Read -
Roadmap to success in JEE Advanced 2019 Advertise With Us The students'
union does not want to take over the administration of the university. We
can go quite a long way without political parties. In any case, political
parties will only enter the picture when the city's students become a
social force which they are not as yet. Advertise With Us Student
agitations have toppled ministries but have not eradicated corruption or
political opportunism. On the contrary, they have been allowing themselves
to be made instruments of such an opportunism. There is nothing wrong if
students agitate for reforms in the system of university education. The
courses are fossilised and are not relevant to the social needs for trained
manpower. The syllabi are outdated. Methods of teaching are appallingly
barren and do little to develop the students' creativity and power of
reasoning. The examination system is outmoded and absolute and it is
inadequate means of testing the student's knowledge and intellectual
abilities. There are some constructive agitations and such agitations would
evoke wide support from the educated classes. The community at large would
be benefitted apart from the university education getting a facelift. If
the standards are diluted and for such moves the agitations take place,
then the demands of students are not justifiable. One of the commonest
things that spark off a student riot is a tough question paper. The
students tear answer books, create disorder, manhandle the invigilators and
make it impossible to conduct examinations. That is why the paper setters
are so mortally afraid of offending the students that they take more than
adequate care to set easy questions. Poor percentage of passes at
university examinations are another ground for student ire. That is why the
university authorities give grace marks. Those people who spend the
required number of days in the university are automatically given a degree
and this satisfies the student community. Rise in fees is another fertile
ground for discontent. In 1973, 5000 students of Allahabad University
surrounded the house of Vice Chancellor and threatened to cut off his hands
unless some students are readmitted to the university. Three years ago
there were student demonstrations against the ban on tight pants and
mini-skirts. The agitators are led by a handful of student leaders who are
often politically motivated and financed. The general body of students are
indifferent to politics. Their agitations do not appear to be aimed at
improving current conditions but on the contrary at lowering the existing
standards of education. Politicians use students as are mere tools. "They
need young people for their election campaigns". The junior B.A., results
declared in June 1973 showed that she had a Third Class in French. The girl
was expecting a first class and was in tears. She had some pull and able to
get her papers reexamined. And she found herself not merely in the first
class but right at the top of the list. The student revolt is not one-day
affair. It was actually a culmination of a process which had been going for
some time. Over the years the university was being flooded with
sub-standard teachers and student indiscipline began to generate. The
requirements regarding their attendance were honoured more in the breach
and the college periodical tests were not taken more often than not. The
principals bought peace by periodically conceding the demands of the
students whether they are justified or not. The copying at the university
examination was common and so corrupt practices on the part of the
invigilators and examiners. The standards of passing were being diluted to
appease the student population. Because the Vice-Chancellor and the
principals were taking a moderate view in the matter some colleges where
good academic attainments were held became victims of academic chaos. In
Mumbai the battle is now on against the passing of university bill
hurriedly. They feel it is another anti-student measure. In fact, many of
the students, girls and boys join colleges because they cannot find
employment after they finish school. If the students agitate for better and
more flexible courses more rigorous and useful work in the classrooms,
practical training and vocational courses, a more meaningful and fair
system of assessment of their reasonable chance of getting employment on
completion of studies, they would be perfectly justified in doing so.



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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