The year 2013 has been a mixed year as far as the education scenario in the district is concerned.
Bharathiar University, which was in the news for the wrong reasons like the DVAC inquiry about financial irregularities, once again courted controversy when it decided to buy a `35 lakh worth Mercedes Benz for the official use of its Vice-Chancellor G James Pitchai. The University Registrar, Controller of Examination and Director of School of Distance Education were to get Toyota Etios priced at `7 lakh upwards, which was strongly condemned by the academic community. The move was later dropped by the university.
In June the university was again in trouble when authorities granted permission for a Tamil film shoot on the university premises, which was condemned by students and academicians.
On the positive side Bharathiar University, in a first of its kind initiative, has introduced smart mark sheets and degree certificates on eco-friendly, waterproof and durable paper. The certificates have QR codes connected to a centralised database and scanning the QR code will lead to a webpage with details on the student, including the course.
In March the city witnessed a strong student protest over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, which forced the government and authorities to shut down education institutions.
Following a direction by the Madras High Court on a PIL by a Tirupur-based man, in June Anna University released the pass percentage of all engineering colleges affiliated to it. In this year’s Tamil Nadu Engineering Admission held at Anna University, around 80,000 government quota seats remained vacant at the end of counselling.
The appointment of 42 faculty members at the Periyar University in Salem in August, at a time when its Vice-Chancellor K Muthuchelian was about to demit his office, raked up debate in the academic community.
Association of University Teachers (AUT) vice-president C Pichandy said, “Appointment of teachers in government and government aided colleges, starting of government colleges in rural areas and starting of new courses in government colleges are welcome initiatives of the present government. Apart from this there is an increase in the enrolment ratio in higher education, which is a commendable achievement.”
“In many universities posts of administrative and academic heads were left vacant for a long time. Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE) was without a head, and universities like Periyar, Bharathidasan and Alagappa universities were without Vice-Chancellors. We hope people with honesty and professional integrity are brought into such position,” he said.