Falling standards of universities

Editor,

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu at a convocation  a few days ago lamented that very few Indian universities figured among the top 300 in this year’s Time World University Ranking and urged that a complete revamp is needed to enhance quality education in our higher education institutions so that our universities get into the top hundred in the world. The vice president was addressing students at the 16th Convocation Ceremony at Symbiosis International University when he mentioned the plight of our universities.
The VP rightly said, “We have to again make India a Vishwa guru and for that to happen, we have to improve the quality of education in Indian universities.  We need to think about the factors responsible for this.” Our nation stood proud as the education capital of the world in the past with excellent ancient universities like Nalanda, Taxila, Valabhi and Vikramshila and many others spreading their radiance around the globe. They perished with invasions and colonialism. The British era saw a number of varsities sprout and but they did not provide standard education. These were based on the British educational system. Sadly the rich tradition and heritage of education in India went into oblivion. Post independence our nation saw the birth of many higher education institutions and they did produce  a good number of intellectuals and academicians but somewhere down the line these have become just “degree producing factories,” moulding individuals sans intellectuality.

A number of reasons have made our varsities lose their sheen. The true soul  of any institution is the faculty. Lack of good faculty weakens not only the institutions but those youngsters who come within its portals. World class faculty can really make our varsities into world class ones which in turn can produce world class citizens. Faulty examination system, inadequate funds or funds not being used effectively, quota system, lack of infrastructure , laxity and sluggish attitude regarding the planning of curriculum are some of the hurdles in the progress of our varsities.  Politics is another distraction creating unwanted  chaos in the campus. Political interference must be stopped for the smooth functioning of varsities which should cater to the needs of the society.
The VP also stressed that educational institutions should give full importance to values. It is amazing that  though the fruits of education are enlightenment, empowerment, enhancement, and lastly employment  the present generation targets on employment first, ignoring the rest! Its high time our varsities go for a complete change and if this doesn’t happen now the educational scenario of India is bleak.
Yours etc.,

M Pradyu,

Via email

Editor,

Kudos to Chennai techie

It is indeed laudable that a Chennai techie Shanmuga Subramanian helped NASA identify the crash site of the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 on the lunar surface just when the space science community was getting desperate over not being able to decipher the disappearance of the lander on September 7. Subramanian went through NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) images ‘pixel by pixel’ to identify a single bright pixel from its mosaic taken on November 11, and emailed his conclusion to both NASA 0and ISRO. While the US space agency responded, albeit a bit late, and apologised for the delay, there was silence from ISRO.

Mr. Subramanian told the media, “I had gone through the LROC images pixel by pixel and found some minute variations at a spot on the lunar surface between the image of December 2017 and the one taken on September 7, when Vikram was supposed to land. I sent my findings to NASA and what they did was to closely search the lunar surface based on the location I gave and pick up the location of the larger debris.”

It may be recalled that the nation plunged into sadness after the much-anticipated moon mission failed and ISRO was clueless as to where the debris of the Vikram lander had scattered. Now India can be proud of the Chennai techie who was instrumental in finding the Vikram lander. Unfortunately ISRO has not yet acknowledged Subramanian’s painstaking effort of finding Vikram lander while NASA has credited the Chennai techie for it.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email