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An estimated 3-minute read

The starvation of accountability ->Money, Money, Money

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Two things before you read on:


- The events depicted in this blog are probably fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.

- "The mind of man can imagine nothing which has not really existed." --Edgar Allan Poe

One fundamental feature of a democracy is accountability. We fail as a society every time we fail to hold ourselves accountable. Corporate Governance became the buzz word post-satyam. However, inspite of a number of scandals involving educational institutions, we're yet to talk about University Governance (UG). 

UG is about transparency in the decision making process by the various actors in a University.  As a stakeholder in the University, I have a right to know where the money I am paying is going. Asking every University to issue a detailed financial report would be the first step towards achieving respect for the way our Universities are being run.

How much of my money was spent on a conference? How much is being spent on paying the faculty? How much money is used to pay the water and electricity bills? No one can give me these answers. Why doesn't the University bring out a report stating how each rupee was used ? If they actually keep accounts of everything that is being done, then why not publish them? 

The last time I spoke about this, my cousin in the United States bluntly asked me why I didn't file an RTI application. The reason is simple. Any time we question the functioning of the system, we are looked upon as those who are against it. By questioning the actions of the University, I will automatically be considered 'unfriendly'. An 'unfriendly' is supposed to be silenced.

So when a teacher went to the Registrar to inform him that he was going to get 150 RTI applications, the Registrar calmly told him it would not be entertained and he should immediately cancel the assignment. The next day we were told to file the RTI applications in any organisation apart from the University. The message to him was clear - By allowing these people to file applications, you are putting the reputation of the University at risk.

The teacher left the following semester. He wasn't the smartest teacher but certainly someone who wanted to know what was going on. Even though he was a senior teacher, he was denied such information.

While taking the viva of a few students who had written about the RTI and corruption, he told us a little story; believable and interesting. The reason he told us because he already had a job at another University and even if this did get out, he would be far gone by then.

Every year my University either purchases items like books, chairs or constructs a building or two. It so happens that the company which wins the contract is usually one linked to a senior member of the administration. The member floats a company much before the bids are called and makes sure he provides a winning quote. 

Apart from the students, there aren't many other people who would question the functioning of a University. The Bar Council of India asks Universities to file an annual report. That report again is not publicly available in the University or the campus. The State Government has lost most of its influence has the University does not depend on State funding. And no one really knows when the Governing Council of the University meets or what they do. 

Most of our Universities fail to provide us the most basic amenities. At places the canteen food is considered tasteless and inedible. Yet, the canteen operator would have been working at the University for years. A building would already have cracks within one year of its construction, however, the same contractor wins another contract.

Now, I understand that as a student my priority lies at studying.  However, turning a blind eye and not questioning what is happening around me defeats any purpose I might have ever had at this place of learning.


See John2010's other blogs:

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