Monday, May 20, 2013

ShowTime \Bleak Magic

 Our vice chancellor is becoming more and more of a magician. Over his viceregal lodge hat, he waves his wand and brings forth rabbits out of thin air. His stage assistants, the task-forcers, sway and make every wish of the VC's their ultimate command. They herd  the rabbits pulled out of the hat. These rabbits that were once real  principals are summoned from their offices and placed in the Viceregal lodge and have secrets whispered to them. Then they are whisked back into their own little holes out of which they emerge,  principally  hypnotized, to make pronouncements to members of constituted college committees.

The earlier  magic show was about how to make the Program courses disappear, resurface as  DSI courses and then quickly make posts disappear into thin air by increasing student strength in classrooms. Magic, we must remember, always defies logic. So never mind pedagogical concern that  an optimal number of students per classroom is paramount to make classroom teaching   effective or viable. The  wand has also  waved dismissively over shortage of rooms for teaching and tutorials. An increase in the optimal number of students in classrooms and  tutorial groups  was the next step into magic. After all the trick is to have everything down to the last calculation on paper. Magic has never been about ground realities!

The theme for  the  current show is the new Indrajal:  FYUP foundation courses which promise to enthrall a diverse audience. Eleven compulsory courses, purportedly offering  great choice and inter-disciplinary skill are to be studied by students across all disciplines. Hastily and shoddily cobbled, these courses  form part of the magician's quick trick repertoire and continue to elude comprehension.

  To popularize them principals have  been  given  new magic words: "versatility" and "diversity" in the classroom. This is not to be provided by the courses themselves. Instead, students from three disparate streams are to be bizarrely assembled together in combinations of twenty apiece per section . Since the course content is not challenging, the challenge is to create disparity and distraction and make way for student melees during each lecture period.  This student cocktail of three parts will then be served up as starters during Project operation  which will be orchestrated  by teachers  providing special effects in the form of  marks. What joy and jollity this proposed event will generate is anybody's guess.

 At my college,  members of the Academic Planning Committee  and Teachers-in -Charge have found this practically unfeasible.  Shortage of space has prevented us from including students in  the game of musical chairs  currently reserved for faculty members in the university curriculum.  We recorded  the pedagogic non-advisability of such procedure despite our understanding  that  Magic Shows are about  razzle-dazzle and never  about good teaching or learning practice.

 The grand finale of the magic show is scheduled for July when the latest version of the Great Indian  Rope Trick will be staged. Ringside seats will be available in June and laptops will be distributed as gifts at the gala opening.  This time  V.C. Sorcar  will  be using the university as a prop in lieu  of a rope.  The bad news is that instead of  the  VC's disappearance, as  is customary,  the finale hinges on obliterating the  entire  university in the twinkling of an eye. E-classes on laptops will be the only Virtual  Reality left.

Monday, May 13, 2013

March of The Right Wing

University News BULL-etin : All words within quotation marks have been sourced from the VC's Discourse.

As we have been told recently, the VC's time is not his own. Ever since the Annual Convocation, the VC  has been redesigning the purple velvet gowns donned by DU's big league. Avid event watchers will recall that Pallam Raju opined that the existing  costumes were inappropriate for our tropical climate. When Ministers notice matters of such grave import at a Central University, faux pas of this magnitude needs to be rectified instantaneously. As long as the convocation costumes are in order,  the harmony of mind, body and heart  is assured. Under such circumstances, the state will not interfere in the vice chancellor's affairs but will allocate junior ministers as cheerleaders to sashay beside the Vice-chancellor on his victory-march. Never mind that  a considerable amount of the VC's energies are  focused on  allowing  India's Premier Central University to self destruct. Despite all this, he has not allowed the moss to grow beneath his feet.

  Cabal meetings with an unknown company that flew in secretly to assess 1100 of our undergraduates and pronounced all but three, unemployable, have also occupied  a considerable chunk of the VC's time. Reportedly, the VC is stymied that the said company  viewed  the exercise as a waste of time and vowed "off the record" never to return. This is a matter of National talk show importance as all employees of this company are  Bhatnagar Award Winners. Possession of this distinguished award   renders everything and everyone else inconsequential. For this express reason,  all of us in the  teaching  discipline must no longer refuse to care about secret reports presented by mysterious placement companies.  All of us must also be aware of the  double jeopardy: our current  undergraduates  are unemployable  and there is no future for those who will graduate subsequently since everyone who missed out on the VC's talk shows would have been informed by his secret company about the intrinsic worthlessness of the DU graduate.

The VC is also distraught over the fact that hundreds of Noam Chomskys have been lost to us because our Sanskrit Honours students were denied a training in linguistics. This happened  because nobody had access to  information regarding Chomsky's secret study of  Panini's grammar. The VC himself learnt  of this from  a book written by Charles. To rectify this criminal oversight, Innovative Cluster Programmes are hard at work, fine tuning  data collected for the purpose of  cloning  Sanskrit students into Chomskys.
 "Make no mistake," The VC is especially concerned about the 50 percent unemployable graduates of  SRCC. He is hard at work trying to  salvage their futures  by juggling data he has personally collected out of his head. Unfortunately,  Charles has been of little help in this regard, being rather  dim at  connecting vedic mathematics with Einstein. A connection between Einstein and TS Eliot exists, by the way. Other equally able collectors of anecdotal trivia have proved that  both  Eliot and Einstein worked as clerks but this research input has been rendered irrelevant since  all clerical work is under the aegis  of  the  DU Registrar who traverses across all orbits as a constellation in her own right.

The thirty per cent drop out rate at the university will now be speedily stemmed. All students enrolled in science disciplines who  moved on to engineering, IT and medical options at the end of  their first year when the VC wasn't looking will now be halted in their tracks. "Make no mistake', the VC is hard at work setting up companies all over India, where employable graduates are to be supplied. This will be every undergraduate's  final destination.

Those  who have been left out comprise the majority of Delhi University's undergraduate and graduate teachers. It matters little  whether they are right. It matters even less that they have rights. "Make no mistake". You cannot be right if you do not have a Bhatnagar award, if you have not read Charles and if you are not in a position to inquire about electrical maintenance at foreign universities from their Presidents. You cannot be right if the game plan is to have you  left behind in the process of malforming millions of young adult minds. Those of us, left in shock and disbelief, need to regroup away from the right wing and ensure that sanity prevails once again at Delhi University. Amen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

(FY)UP In The Air

 Breaking News

Late last evening Shashi Tharoor  twittered at the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.
" The University  on Wheels is a good plan,  but we need to fast track."  .

  " Nothing could be faster than this"  the VC  twittered back, taking his eyes off the stopwatch with which he was masterminding Delhi University's demolition.
Tharoor : This is the space age. Trains are a no-no even for  cattle class.

"What  is your  input?" smsed  the VC who believed in strategic planning and consultation with  Experts-at -Nothing.

  Tharoor : The finance bill has been passed,
                 Government  is plush with funds.
                Dont sink money in  Cluster Non-Innovative Projects.
                Buy  up an Airline!

How will that help, queried the VC, following his time tested policy of obstructing  any idea that was not his own.

Tharoor: We can have classrooms in the air.
 Mallya is ready to sell. We support him and Air India, remember?

VC: That is one Ass-stounding Innovation Idea!
      Will make it part of new eligibility criteria.
       Students can  directly apply to the Kingfisher offices for admission.
       Specializations will be area based.
        Air-view of  the area will ensure jobs for  all FYUP applicants  as Travel Guides.

Tharoor: Virendra Bhardwaj  can be given sanctuary. We will   fly him  from airbase to airbase to escape lynching by marriageable women and  all  unwell persons suffering from family mishaps who are  incapable of  completing their graduation

VC . The SOL is also stirring up. Never mind . Every young person not going to America and enrolled for FYUP will support us.

Tharoor: If the numbers add up this is going to be one  Dreamliner of a University.
 In solidarity!

VC: Up Up and Away!

Editorial Comment: The Dreamliner Project is now grounded owing  to considerations of safety and viability. The FYUP seems to be charting similar territories.

Distress Call from  Pilot in Cockpit: Cant Fly this  machine! Is it true that  no safety  check  measures  are in place for FYUP?.