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Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

 “One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the passion of others can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.” –Vishnugupta Chanakya

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Before starting a discussion about the role and importance of management in a university, which contributes tremendously in developing man’s personality, or which accords a dimension to human life, it is appropriate to get first of all familiarity with the meaning and purpose of management.

Management, an academic discipline, covering all faculties of the process of education, is, in reality, the function to co-ordinate the efforts of people to accomplish objectives and achieve the goals using available resources efficiently and effectively. Further, planning, organizing, staffing, directing and leading, controlling and taking initiatives to reach the goal are the parts and parcels of management. Along with this, deployment and arrangement of human resources, financial resources, learning resources, technological and natural resources are the prime features of management.

Thus, how important is management and how vital is its role in the ongoing process of globalization, it could be well comprehended from the short discussion we have had. Especially, when forecast, plan, organization, command, co-ordination and control emerge as its important tools, the worth and significance of management at all levels and in all walks of life become apparent.

II

Education is, undoubtedly, the most important feature in human life. It is a lifelong process. Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a great contemporary mystic from India, rightly said, As long I live, so long do I learn.”  The all-round development of one’s personality is possible only through education –Shiksha in Indian terms.

The Vedic-Hindu philosophy calls for a worthy living. It urges that each and everyone can make her or his life valuable by taking it to a moral and spiritual height. The acid test of worthy living, the high life, is to base her or his life on purity; in other words, imbuing it with ethics and dedicating actions to the great cause of the welfare of humanity as a whole. It is, in fact, an altruistic notion and urge of Vedic-Hindu philosophy with a universal objective. In this regard, important is that the Vedic-Hindu philosophy declares education as the only basis, means or the way to achieve the goal. From this, the significance of the process of education could also be realized. It is due to this reality that a person like Mandela has admitted, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”  

In such a significant discipline, which, to re-iterate, plays the vital role in making and shaping one’s life, or leads a human being towards achieving a goal, the importance of management is also self-evident. In this regard, it can be said with certainty that at every level of the process of education from primary to higher stage, proper and smooth management is inevitable. Along with this, in comparison to primary and secondary levels, it is more important at higher stage of education, institutions of higher studies, or universities. Why? This question could naturally emerge in one’s mind. In answer to this, it could be said firmly:

1-A university or an institution of higher studies is a centre of knowledge and learning for people of high age-group. Co-ordination between teaching staff [Professors] and managers and those who are of high age-group is naturally important and, at the same time, it is also a challenging task. For this, there is a great need for the best and co-operative management;

2-A university or an institution of a similar stature is essentially a centre for a wide range of researches and experiments besides imparting education through various faculties at the higher level. Here, education is not confined to attending classes for lectures and reading books as it cannot take to the real task. The accomplishment of task of generating energy is very much expected for the development of one’s personality, mental level in particular, and achieving the fixed objective or the one previewed already. It is possible only through an able-bodied management, by its foremost features mentioned above;       

3-A university, an institution of higher erudition, plays a vital role as directing-force through studies and by conducting tests including field work, to raise a man as a law-abiding and responsible citizen, under the supervision of well experienced and knowledgeable professors. It is quite necessary for proper conduction of the system –from individual to national, from national to global and from global to universal level. For this, planning, which is the foremost and preliminary part of management, is required; and

4-A university or an institution is meant to prepare, in a nutshell, a solid ground for the one, who studies and carry out research to achieve the goal. It plays a vital role by providing varied experiences for making one’s personality, or in developing individuality, not only for her/his own sake, but, in fact, for the purpose of working on the basis of her/his achievements for the progress and uplift of the society and humanity as a whole. This is indeed the purpose of education and the basic spirit is in its root. True education urges for use of each and every accomplishment, newly developed whole-person approach, method or model for larger welfare of one and all. It necessarily demands utilization of built up programmes, organizations, and human systems for people without any kind of discrimination –racial, gender or community-oriented. It is to integrate all fellow beings by promoting goodwill through human services in all manners.

The brief discussion we have had till now, particularly having the four points in the centre, categorically reveals itself the importance of a university or an institution of higher studies in the making of one’s life. It emphatically unveils side-by-side, the role, contribution and significance of management in achieving the desired goals.     

III

Currently, the world has reached to its new and unprecedented state. In reality, it is rapidly converting into a global village as per Indian dictum of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. In such a situation, stepping forward together has become necessary, and for this, co-operation of each and everyone and co-ordination among the all persons on this planet is a pre-requisite. For certainty of this, the role of process of education is vital, especially, well-managed education in the universities, or institutions of higher studies and that too directed by ethical values could lead the world for the purpose. This can pave the way to accord appropriate opportunities to everyone to rise.     

Today, there are a number of challenges before any university. Non-preparedness for adequate studies1 and shortage of competent teachers-professors2, low standard, non-availability of sufficient facilities and finances3, high cost, lack of co-ordination among faculties, or continuously increasing competition at the different levels, could be counted in this regard. They hinder studies and research, both; the skill development. Almost all universities face these challenges, more especially in developing countries of the world.

All these challenges or other related problems could be met only by effective and accountable management. Through available resources at local and regional levels, and by gathering national and international support in the form of co-operation and co-ordination, university education could be made more conclusive for universal good.

Management is itself an act to solve the problem, or to meet challenges and to pave the way to achieve. This is the only effective way to solution and to accomplish as per the expectations. But, while doing so, the significance of values cannot be overlooked, as they are the only base to make the tool of management, worthy and meaningful.

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References:

1.       In the United States of America, almost half of the students [fifty percent] in four-year degree programmes do not graduate. In the Netherlands, the completion rate for students enrolled in four or five years programme is approximately fifty percent. In New Zealand, the completion rate for students enrolled in Bachelors programmes is little less than fifty percent.

2.       For various reasons, renowned universities in India like DU, JNU, Madurai Kamaraj University, Patna University, and IITs are, according to the report, lack in professors-teachers up to fifty percent. It has been reported recently by P Pushkar, a research fellow at the Institute for Study of International Development at the McGill University through  his article entitled,  In Search of India’s ‘Missing’ Professors, which has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education [September 12, 2014] that India faces a shortage of 3,00,000 faculty members in its universities and colleges. It further estimated that the shortage will increase at the rate of 1,00,000 each year. These are big numbers even for a country of one billion-plus people and counting.

3.       This is the problem being faced more or less by every university or an institution of higher studies in the world. Just for an example, one of the prestigious universities of the world, the St. Augustine’s University at Raleigh, North California, United States of America, was in heavy debts due to lack of funds, it has stopped payments of many bills of which one amounting to approximately $675,000 came to disclose in 2013.  

In addition

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Comment by Balamurali Balaji on October 9, 2014 at 4:02pm

I've just read an article in todays The New Indian Express, "Needed: an education policy rooted in culture" by J S Rajput. I would like to highlight few things mentioned therein which sounded in similar note to what you have authored about the needs and problems in Indian education system.

  • Policy change in education has to be a continuous process, with some condiderations it could be at periodical intervals.
  • As the pace of change all around is fast and also unpredictable, the concept and practice of frontline curriculum has been implemented in several countries.
  • In India, major policy formaulation took place in 1968, 1986 and 1992. The Ramamurthy committee report prepared at the instance of VP Singh government was dumped and another report under the chairmanship of Janardhan Reddy during the PV NarasimhaRao government was exercised.
  • The Ramamurthy report contained some vital elements that would have brought Indian education policy much closer to the Gandhian conceptualization of education.
  • After a long gap of 22 years since 1992 when education policy was refreshed, a great opportunity opens up now for the nation to prepare a policy that will be rooted in culture and committed to progress.
  • Our achievements in education are very impressive and these are projected in terms of higher numbers: enrolments, teachers, institutions, literacy rate, rooms, buildings and the like.
  • The education system faces huge problems in terms of leadership, work culture, infrastructure, professional support, and most importantly the quality of product, from schools to universities and research institutions.
  • Several other issues like state funding, approach to common school system, medium of instruction, deemed universities, privatisation of education and the role of regulatory bodies have emerged as new interests nowadays.
  • The author also insisted that education can no longer ignore the criticality of climate change and man-nature mutuality.

What I see is that in India, education is seen as a mode for comfortable living where as in the developed countries, it is seen more than that, especially a sort of achievement and specialization of a personality. The issue of "Brain drain" has been neglected for the same reason. Just like any other field such as science and technology, the field of education too adopt the policy of "East following the West". India right now, is in a state of amalgamation and yet to see its own education in a different direction, besides protecting its cultural and moral dimensions.

Comment by Satyanarayan सत्यनारायण on October 8, 2014 at 6:28pm

I agree with some of the points raised by you. India has 677 universities.In a convocation speech President of India acknowledged that India does not have a place among 200 top universities of the world. The President is  visitor of 99 academic institutions in India,among them 45 are central universities.When I checked the agenda of Vice Chancellors Conference with the President I found it as ordinary as it could be.Although there is a National Assessment And Accreditation Council few universities are being evalued , and these too irregularly.There is a total apathy.

Major ailments are: lack of funds,infrastructure;desirable standard of faculty and curriculum;appropriate sudent-teacher ratio; and administrative negligence, bad management.

Compare ours with the Johns Hopkins University: it spent $ 1,857 billion in 2012;sent a spacecraft to Mercury to orbit the planet (2004); teaching more than 240 courses;research and training sites in 134 countries; the length of the campuses,including campuses in Italy and china, is " just 9,921 miles ".

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