Saturday, February 17, 2018
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AU black and white

I take you back to Januatry 2006 when Prof Hari Mohan Jain, former head of Politics Department, Allahabad University, was living. He then told me that he  held the relaxation (suspension) of  attendance rules for students of the University as mainly responsible for the falling academic standards.

In other words shirkers among students and teachers have both  taken advantage of this. With compulsory attendance gone, seminar classes disappeared long ago.

Professor Jain, who was a very regular, hard-working and brilliant teacher of his days,    analysed the situation critically, rationally and objectively. If  students can appear in examinations without attending classes, whom will the teachers teach ? Prof. Jain  said that this suited the shirkers among teachers.  If freedom not to attend classes is there, the errant teacher  uses this as a ‘licence’ not to teach; for with the suspension of attendance rules, marking of attendance is no longer insisted upon and the teacher ‘freed from the obligation of taking attendance and signing the daily attendance record and is also  freed from recording the only evidence of his presence on the campus, and thus need not come to the University at all’. He conceded that this could be an exceptional case. But I think Prof Jain  was  being polite. It  may not be an exception but a rule.

ATTENDANCE RULES: And how strict the attendance rules were in the past ? An example of that was given by Prof Jain..  People, he said,  recall with pride the historic case of C.B. Rao (who became the VC himself ), son of the great editor, Sir C.Y.Chintamani (whose disciples were my gurus in the profession).It would surprise the present generation to learn that  C.B.Rao was not permitted to appear in the B.A. examination for want of just one days attendance. The legal  requirement is 75 per cent  class attendance in each and every paper comprising a course of study. Do we have that?

About the sorry plight of teaching on the campus, Prof. Jain  said in 2006 that the statutes lay down the duty framework of teachers but the actual teaching done by an average teacher is not even half of what is prescribed by the rules. The tutorials and seminars ceased to exist long ago. Prof Jain wants the Vice Chancellor to introduce into the university a system of the rule of law and to devise a mechanism of accountability with attendant provision for incentives and punishment.

DOWNHILL JOURNEY: Professor Jain  said  that although the downhill journey of AU started some 50 years ago yet by 1990 the degeneration had gone so deep that the then Dean of Arts Faculty wrote in a local publication that ‘as an institution the university is now existing no more’. The same can be said at least of now—when  teachers are striking – just because they have not been properly taking their classes and have therefore failed to inculcate among students the required feeling of love, respect and adulation for their teachers. Yogeshwar Tewari wants to attack horsemen, not horses. Who are the horsemen on the campus please ? If they have failed to tame the horses , can we blame the latter?

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