The headlines today are all about the midnight arrest of many students of the prestigious Film & Television Institute of India. While I don’t want this to be another commentary on whether it was right for the police to swoop in at midnight for the arrest or whether the students were within their rights protest against ‘irrational’ assessment or gheraoing the institute’s director, Prashat Pathrabe, this incident seems to reiterate one of my primary concerns in modern India, why exactly are educational institutes mired with political interests.
Unfortunately today, despite boasting of a huge pool of talent, many prestigious institutes and enthusiastic and diligent students, most institutes in our country are at sub-par levels essentially because of political interference. Be it the lag in appointment of teachers or appointment if undeserving candidates or admission based on other factors and not merit or even the decision on designing the syllabus, the political forces seem significantly dominating in terms of furthering their interests.
The education system is literally the magic wheel spinning our future. From primary levels to post graduation alternatives, almost at every step we see undue interference on many pretext wreaking havoc with a student’s educational future. Many a times the syllabus is such that the student is unable to cope with future challenges or the teachers are ill-equipped to impart the right kind of education students. Worse still the appointments at important positions is often dictated by political concerns rather than the need and the will to better an institute’s future prospect.
I feel we are in serious need of a central autonomous body in charge of regulation and appointments across educational institutes in the country. Not only should they look at effective functioning of the various institutes but need to strive towards maintaining the academic independence too. This regulation body should be independent of political forces in power and appointments within it should be through a centralised examination methodology like Indian Administrative Service and not dependent on political will.
The question is would it solve the problem? Well what we have now is surely not helping and we need to urgently look at replacing the current system. This could be one of the many means to achieve it.