The dissent against the proposed move to confer autonomous status to Maharaja’s College is gaining momentum, with various students organisations staging agitations.
Close on the heels of the agitation staged by the KSU against the move, Maharaja’s Samaraskshana Samithi staged a symbolic gibbeting on the campus on Wednesday. More than 120 students, including girls, took part in it.
The protesters said the proposal was full of pitfalls and that it would bring down the academic standard of higher education. “It would set different standards for different colleges and would lead to rise in overall university education expenses,” said Shan V S, a member of the MG University Senate from the college.
He said the autonomous system promised no guarantee with regard to the strictness and fairness in conduct of examinations and alleged that it would set the stage for fabrication of results.
Voicing protest against the proposal, the KSU students of the college organised a hunger strike on Tuesday. KSU district president Titu Antony, who inaugurated the hunger strike said that the authorities should clear the apprehensions of the student community about autonomy implementation. “The decision was taken without seeking the opinion of the students’ organisations. We understand that the autonomous system may bring certain positive changes. But nobody has a clear idea, especially when it comes to administration and curriculum. The administration of autonomous colleges should be a vested governing council on the lines of the University syndicate with the participation of students. Also and appellate authority upon which students and teachers can rely on in case of grievances should be formed,” Titu said. He also said that the KSU would intensify the agitation if the government does not intervene.
The SFI staged a street play that satirically featured student life, staff placement, admission and the educational system of an autonomous college.
According to volunteers of Maharaja’s Samrakshana Samithi, there was already a tendency to give prominence to more ‘bankable’ courses at the expense of liberal and social sciences streams and basic research. “The recently-launched two Honours courses at the college set to commence during the next academic year are self-financing and with the College getting autonomous status, more self-financing courses will be launched, making higher education beyond the reach of the economically backward,” he said.
Only a minority of the teaching staff has welcomed the move. “If autonomous status is granted, the teachers will not be able to maintain the standards of teaching as they may be forced to carry out the jobs of non-teaching staff too. There should be a clear policy on the infrastructure, staff placement and the curriculum planning,” said a few teachers.
However, Principal Latha Raj was not available for comment.