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The new-age guru’s year-end woes 

29 April, 2005

Tamil Nadu's self financing colleges create a problem of plenty


If you thought teaching is the lone noble profession left in this humbug of universe think again. For chances are that it would be a broad, sweeping statement, akin to the ones we make every day at the drop of a hat on topics ranging from poverty to uniform civil code and cricket. Take a bet. 

Welcome to the self-financing educational jungles of Amma’s fiefdom – Tamil Nadu. Education is a cottage industry here and all and sundry who has appeared at least once in any newspaper columns own a college (self-financing farce) here. Again a sweeping statement, you might think. Agreed. But the point is not that. When you have an engineering college in every two junctions in any backward district where two tumbler system still exists (one set of tumblers for the so called Upper castes and another set for the children of lesser God’s you have a social issue: The problem of plenty. 

In other words, you find it difficult to get students. Which would mean, the money you paid as bribe to break the red-tape to inject a sense of authenticity for your ‘reputed’ educational institution goes for a toss. And this is highly unacceptable by any standards. Really. So what do you do? 

Innovation comes here. If educational institutions of this sort needs students, so do the teachers who eke a living out of the mushrooming farce need these colleges to thrive. For survival. Existence. 

So when the academic year ends, he farce starts. The teachers are asked to rope in students, albeit for their own survival. The mantar is: You grow with your institution. 

That is exactly why in many districts, college teachers are out on the streets in the scorching summer. In search of wards! You spot the students, canvass them, give them valuable tips on how they will grow up the social ladder through the institution of your choice (not their). In the end the hapless teacher “books” his prospective ward, returns with a list and submits to the omnipotent management. Omnipotent? Yes. 

Because only teachers are told that only those who “rope in” students are going to continue as teachers. In other words, no work no pay. 

A report said un enthusiastic teacher in Coimbatore even pasted posters in nearby Kerala, where degree mills and self-financing colleges are only emerging into vogue. Students from Kerala are the real fodder for such institutions in Tamil Nadu, forming the major chunk of affiliated colleges here. 

Why does this happen? Because there are no agencies who scrutinize the working conditions and if there are, they are turning a blind eye. Because, this is not something new. It has been happening for years. So what was the State Council for Higher Education and the Universities doing all these years? Nothing on this front. They have better things to do (Read organizing seminars which again is a money spinner). 

The other side of this utopian drama is that there are new-age teachers who make the most out of it, without ethical qualms and moral dilemma. This breed of new-age teacher doesn’t mind donning the marketing executive’s role and roping in a few wards. Because he assures his own job as well as rakes in the moolah as commission for his “meritorious service” to the institution.

So with the new breed of teachers usurping the vintage stuff in every aspect, except arguably the standard of teaching, there is stiff competition. That is what is called struggle for existence. 

And the rot has pervaded down. The final year students are also now being part of the recruitment board! They simply get commission for spreading the good word about the educational institution. They call themselves brand ambassadors. At times, they are rewarded with a generosity while the internal mark list is prepared. What more can you ask for from these institutions of excellence? Nothing more.


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