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Why land prices zoom in TN? The Gulf aviation boom No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS More heat than light L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… No Maha Koottani in TN... 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Solar thermal shines… Delhi is distant… Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet A glass full of corruption Five star activism stalls development activity Making ‘my Amaravati’... GNS - 100: our first subscriber Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Tatas moving out of urea production... The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Moily’s bold thrust Make standards certification mandatory... EEC at the National Media Centre When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Things happen by accident and not by design... Where a state respects its litterateurs… Multi-faceted Venkat When small is no larger beautiful.. Shale gas and its shallow future Secularism and anti-Hinduism Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! He continues the focus on social amelioration Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Paytm karo... TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership SoA @ 80 The few handicaps... When the President was rendered homeless… The brown list of Venkitaramanan Come elections, come advertisements... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Fortune for Indian Airlines Airlines in India: cost and space Cutting the nose to spite the face WTO Meet: resolved to meet again S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Gas is the way forward Intellectual of rare qualities Modi and the lady Contrarian cousins Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Solar, solar everywhere … For whom the bell tolls? Sri Lanka votes for change …and of a popular trade leader The rise and rise of KCP L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Adharma of opposition politics Muffled voices for merit… A proud Madrasi A rich pool of talent not utilised…. A yen for wastage… S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Which side are you, Montek? Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Funding the un-funded Boy, can you beat these? Tribute CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. The rise and fall of Annamalai University Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Strengthen the base... CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Align crops to agro climate endowments… Excel Generators provide the vital back-up A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Delhi is distant Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Discoms deserve better… Modi storms Silicon Valley Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna TGS- The king storyteller An enemy’s enemy is a friend Silver Years of Madras Musings Build close rapport with business leaders
 
IPL type auction for VCs?

IE has been frequently pointing to the pathetic state of affairs of universities in Tamil Nadu. There has been crass political interference. As in politics, caste considerations have become a dominant factor and merit the casualty. For some two decades now, institutionalised system of corruption that pervades Tamil Nadu has taken deep roots in higher education as well. Look at the course of Guindy Engineering College, among the three oldest engineering colleges: for decades it enjoyed a prestige that spread across the globe for churning out graduates of outstanding merit. Its standards, systems and output were on par with the IITs. When the Anna University was formed, it had outstanding educationists as VCs. Dr V C Kulandaiswamy served three terms followed by Dr M Anandakrishnan who had two terms. Both were internationally renowned academics who commanded respect for their rich and extensive contributions.

Since then we witnessed an arubathumoovar-like procession of vice chancellors with short tenures of just three years. Almost their first year is spent on understanding and getting into the nuts and bolts of administration. The second and third is meant to curry favour with the powers that be to get a second term or to get a similar posting in another university in the state. The inevitable money power creeps in.

The equally venerated Madras University has undergone a similar course. The university, which had at its helm renowned educationists like Dr A L Mudalilar, who had the longest tenure of 27 years and Dr Malcolm S Adiseshiah, who earlier served as the Deputy Director General of UNESCO with over 40 honorary doctorates across the globe to his credit, has been through a traumatic course when even the short three-year term was cut short for a few. There has been intense lobbying for membership of the search committee and bidding for the post of VC. We seem to be moving towards IPL auction-type system with aspirants making the highest offers for getting the post. The absence of concern for filling the post well before the expiry of the term of the incumbent VC, indicates the scope for canvassing with the powers that be. Can we otherwise explain the vacancy of the VCs’ posts for several top universities of Tamil Nadu including Madras University, Anna University and the Madurai Kamaraj University remaining vacant for this long?

Time was when the Secretary of Education or even the Minister of Education used to seek an appointment to meet VCs like Malcolm Adiseshiah. Recently we witnessed the VCs seeking darshan of Sasikala aka Chinnamma, charged with serious corruption practices that landed her in jail thereafter.

In this system even a meritorious educationist like Dr E Balaguruswami got hit. His tenure ended with just one term. Today you find around 100 ex-VCs floating around!

 The course of private universities is not much different: dominated by politicians, traders and businessmen, these have evolved as flourishing businesses. The vast stretches of land acquired through overt and covert means have appreciated in value though the other infrastructure and quality of staff and students are in a pathetic state. Just look at half the under-grads in engineering not getting through the exams in the first year! Several of these have been built on the illegal and pernicious system of capitation fees.

At the 150th year celebration of the Madras University the renowned educationist Dr Anandakrishnan was asked: ”when can an Indian university/academic/institution gain the reputation of a Caltech, Princeton, MIT or Cambridge?” His answer was poignant: “in a system where appointments of vice chancellors were decided by political leaders and when university vice chancellors are the sons/daughters and daughters-in-law of the promoters/proprietors and most of whom are politicians or small time businessmen, how can this happen?” He contrasted this with the reputation as an educationist built over decades needed to be appointed a president of any reputed western university.


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