Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s offer of Rs 45 lakh to Goa University to establish three chairs needs justification, considering the poor performance of the institution in the last five years, in particular. The varsity had the ignominy of being rated with “B” grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of the University Grants Commission, following the reaccreditation procedure.
Of the four colleges and five universities assessed by NAAC in January 2009, Goa University bagged the lowest average points. Paradoxically, nine institutions under the Goa University were awarded a higher grade and the Goa University was left to be on par with Government College, Pernem and GVM’s college of Commerce and Economics, Pernem – both which were being accredited for the first time. This is despite the fact that universities extend luxurious treatment to the assessing NAAC team, giving them ‘everything which they need’ during their stay. This is just the tip of the sorry report card of the institution in its 25th year of existence that was supposed to bring laurels to the state.
It is an open secret that universities in general are hotbed of politics, personal rivalry and corruption. Apart from the IITs there is no institution worth the name in the country which offer world class education. Goa University is akin to GMC. Clear reinforcement of this hunch is the fact that no politician would risk educating their wards at Goa University, just like they would not admit their wards to GMC.
Sitting MLAs and minister prefer to send their children either out of the state or abroad for education. The Academic Audit Committee in its report which was commissioned by the then Chancellor of Goa University and Governor of Goa Dr. S.S. Sidhu showed how the university lacked visionary leadership with neither any action plan nor visionary policy for successfully advancing into the future. The report showed that not only was knowledge generation ‘weak’ but engagement with local and emerging societal issues poor.
Most MBAs from Goa University hardly get good placements. Witness in contrast the Management alumni of Goa Institute of Management which was founded by the iconic Goan Fr Romuld D’Souza, a man of far sighted vision, who had the distinction of establishing a number of institutions all over India, each one a renowned institution of learning known by its products.
The academic audit committee observed that not only are the programmes dreary and uninteresting, but there is little innovation in curriculum and incompetent people are selected as faculty. There is complete stagnation of faculty, with non-Goan faculty who had come from other states, not finding a place in their home states, though they keep applying regularly. Goan faculty themselves are victimized as seen from respected intellectuals such as Prof Errol D’Souza who had to move out of Goa University and currently is professor at prestigious IIM-Ahmedabad.
The quality of research published especially in social sciences is poor. In many departments photocopied notes are supplied, students learn by rote and in certain departments internal marking is higher than external marking. Most of these students do not get selected at interviews and hence outside candidates get selected especially from home states of faculty. This cycle produces poor teachers at the graduate level, when they do eventually get selected on lecture basis and then maybe as lecturers.
In this context, the move by chief minister to give three more chairs demands justification, especially when the university does not have post graduate departments in these disciplines. These grants ought to have gone to the vibrant institutions concerned such as Kala Academy, which does not carry the dead weight of a University as a fitting tribute to Mario Miranda, Anthony Gonsalves and Nana Shirgaonkar. The linkage of these institutions with the University would kill Kala Academy and it would suffer from the infection of mediocrity.
Whether these chairs are meant to be political rewards because Goa University ensured the victory of BJP affiliated students’ body in Student Council Elections, or is it competitive party politics to outdo the Congress which had awarded three chairs to university in the name of DD Kosambi, Dayanand Bandodkar and B B Borkar is for people to judge. The failure of the varsity to find reputed scholars to head the previously awarded chairs or even visionary leaders at the varsity is ample indication of the
intellectual poverty at the institution.