Kerala Governor appears to be determined to launch a novel Swachh Varsity Abhiyan in Kerala. Governor’s unprecedented moves should be viewed in view of the shameful anomalies the universities in Kerala have been keeping on exposing. Missing of answer papers, leaking of question papers, corrupt recruitment, vice chancellors with fake credentials, steps based on fanaticism, etc. are not at all surprises in the state. Recently a Vice Chancellor (VC) was sacked by the former governor for allegedly misrepresenting his qualifications in his curriculum vitae he submitted before the search committee of the state government for finding eligible candidate for the position of the VC. Political appointments in the varsity syndicates add insult to the injury. Corruption is alleged even in the appointments to the position of vice chancellors. Couple of months before the syndicate meeting of the prestigious Cochin University of Science and Technology witnessed scuffle between two members; interestingly one of them was an MLA! And, a ‘political nominee’ in the syndicate resigned when the governor appointed a VC who was not his choice!
Now, the newly appointed Kerala Governor (former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India) P Sadashivam looks like wielding his power, as the Chancellor of Kerala varsities, to put an end to the incongruities which have been ruling the roost in Kerala universities since long. Chancellor convened a meeting of vice chancellors of all universities in the state on the October 27 in Kochi. It was attended by state education minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader PK Abdu Rabb and Additional Chief Secretary (Higher Education) Dr KM Abraham IAS too. The meeting decided to make academic time table compulsory, install CCTV cameras in examination centres, and launch chancellor’s award for the best varsity, etc. A chancellor’s council will be formed to supervise the smooth running of the varsities. There will be strict measures to improve the conduct of self finance colleges. The meeting was attended by the vice chancellors of all the 12 universities in the state.
It was resolved that vice chancellors should submit the progress report to the chancellor’s council during its once a quarter meeting. The meeting opined that external interference will be detrimental to the academics. Even though VCs have to comply with the majority decision of the syndicate, VC is the top authority of every varsity.
Naturally, Islamic parties as well as Muslim leaders of both opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) and ruling right United Democratic Front (UDF) are up in arms against the governor. They allege that it is BJP’s conspiracy to interfere in the running of varsities. CPM MLA (former Muslim League leader) KT Jaleel finds a BJP trick behind governor’s move. The same time he says, it happened due to the (ruling) Indian Union Muslim League education minister’s mismanagement. Congress leader MM Hassan says that governor does not have any power to convene VC conclave. He adds that he will not be surprised if governor convenes state cabinet meetings in future! Muslim League leaders are also unhappy about governor’s move.
But, none of them are able to fight out BJP’s aggressive counter attack. BJP says, governor’s steps are prompted by the worst sort of mismanagement state’s varsities are undergoing. Party points out the examples one by one. They ask, if governor is wrong, why on earth education minister and higher education secretary did attend the meeting.
And, interestingly state CPM supremo Pinarayi Vijayan does not see anything wrong n governor’s action. On top of all, Pinarayi’s dete noir in his own party and leader of the opposition VS Achuthanandan says that governor is right and ruling Front and government cannot criticise the governor’s steps.
The matter has assumed utmost political significance in Kerala. Once again BJP, RSS, saffronisation, PM Narendra Modi, etc. have taken centre stage. But, the parents and all those who are sharing anxieties about the deterioration of the academic standard in Kerala’s varsities are all smiles to see that first time a state governor takes concrete steps to liberate the varsities from the clutches of the irregularities and their apostles. The people of Kerala believe that state governor will be able to weed out undesirable elements, concepts and tendencies from the campuses. They are fed up with the money power, muscle power, political power and communal power controlling the universities since long. That is why Keralites pin their hopes on the new state governor.
—T Satisan from Kochi