KU ridiculed for focus on buildings, not academic excellence

KU ridiculed for focus on buildings, not academic excellence

SRINAGAR: Former vice-chancellor of Kashmir University Prof Jalees Khan Tareen on Thursday criticised the varsity for failing to produce renowned scholars and academics.
Speaking at a workshop related to examination reforms at the Central University of Kashmir, he said: “We have Kashmir University with thousands of acres of land and number of academic buildings, but it has not produced even a single Nobel laureate till date.”
Citing an example of excellence, he said that the Toronto University in Canada has just 600 acres of land with 70,000 students on rolls, but it has “17 Nobel laureates roaming the campus”.
Tareen, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the universities in India have different priorities as compared to the reputed institutions across the globe.
The universities, he said, lack the “Critical Mass of Students and faculty” that is essential for any university to become one of the best.
“Multidisciplinary campuses with a wide choice of programmes and flexibility of choice within interdisciplinary learning options are preliminary to excel in academics,” he said.
The former VC said there were a number of universities in India that have vast areas but “lack quality research, innovation, and inventions”.
Terming bigger campuses as a waste of students’ and scholars’ precious time, he said, “Forcing students to walk huge distances is actually preventing them to socialise with each other.”
“The innovation means interacting with each other,” Tareen said.
“Diversity of students, flexibility in faculty, student mobility, diversity of faculty, academic freedom to faculty, thrust on research, experiential learning, and state of the art laboratories are a must for every varsity.”
He said there should be minimum bureaucratic interference in the “academic creativity and ideas” for a free academic atmosphere in the universities.
“Openness and courage to experiment with new ideas and out of the box thinking should be encouraged among the students,” he said.
Speaking at the event, vice-chancellor Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Prof Mehraj ud Din Mir,  said “constraints, bottlenecks and difficulties” faced by the varsity won’t affect its march on the academic front.