It is a matter of shame that even as 62 universities across the country scored ahead in academic standards to be awarded with autonomy by the UGC, none of the Universities from Kerala could find a place among them. That not a single one from the many universities of Kerala could reach even somewhere near these standard universities of India, including the Self-financing institutions indicates the poor quality and pathetic academic performance of the state’s universities. Afflicted with nepotism, corruption and rapacity, Kerala’s Universities have long been notorious for political horse trading. A Professor with acceptance of the international community of scholarship or a Vice-Chancellor free of allegation is a rare phenomenon, all being appointed with political backing. Qualifications the UGC prescribes are often flouted to winds while appointing Professors, VCs and PVCs, and they have often been subjects of judiciary’s frequent admonition.
When it comes to the research level most of the doctorates are doctored. A recent study has it that theses are stuffed with plagiarism and lifting, and that a 200 paged non-sense in beautifully decked book form would give researchers PhD.
More pathetic and amusing is the state of the Syndicates and the Senates stuffed with unintelligent and uninformed politicians who are educated only for name’s sake, irrespective of whether elected of politically nominated. Substandard in many aspects, they fail to maintain even the etiquettes of the august body they are the members of. More comic is the state of the Boards of Studies filled with people, again political nominees and the syllabi they prepare are reflective of their intellectual and academic pauperism. Except for the fanfare and boasting, these Universities for the past few decades have not produced a creative genius.
Campuses are stages to unleash hooliganisms of the worst kind. Beef festivals, Valentine’s Day celebrations excelling in erotic exhibits, drunken boys celebrating Holi with colour smeared only on girls’ body, Onam celebrations using bulldozers and fire engines, at times leading to death of students as it happened a few years ago in Thiruvananthapuram CET, and what not. Kerala’s campuses are beset with anti-academic activities of all types. Added to this is the discourtesy and disrespects shown to the teachers. Students belonging the leftist outfits have been organizing ‘funeral’ to celebrate their teachers’ retirement. This year it was the retirement of Principal Mrs. P. V. Pushpaja of the Nehru Arts and Science College, Kasargod the SFI students as the former said, celebrated bursting crackers and offering ‘condolences’. They distributed sweets with posters reading “Condolences to the Principal who had died in the hearts of the students. Relief from disaster. Freedom to campus”. It was just two years ago SFI students of Victoria College, Palakkad gave a similar ‘ceremonial funeral’ to their Principal Mrs. T. N. Sarasu at the end of her 27-year-long service.
More comic is the conduct of Examinations which is done in the most haphazard manner. Even as the academic year 2017-2018 has reached its last but one month, the first semester BA examination of the University in the State’s capital has not begun. May be, to the University of Kerala it is one year for one semester! The state of the higher education in Kerala has stooped so much that it cannot plummet any further and if it has fallen off the national contour there is nothing unnatural in it.