Varsity faculty: Time to modify selection rules

This has reference to the report, “Punjabi University rejects govt. notification” (April 7). What the university spokesman has said is not true of the rules followed by the university for short-listing candidates for interviews. For instance, the Vice-Chancellor’s order of Aug 30, 2002, on short-listing, is silent on the question of allocation of marks for published papers and books. Even M.Phil degree is not given weightage for those having a Ph.D.

A candidate’s competence to pursue research, generate ideas and teach with complex contemporary thought can be judged only by what he/she has published. In most European and American universities, at the time of short-listing candidates for interviews, competence to generate new ideas as evident in the candidate’s publications and the academic position of his/her Ph.D. guide are given major consideration. The candidate, especially at the US universities, also meets with the senior faculty and research students for informal discussions.

The present criteria of Punjabi University that give more weightage to first classes in the examinations passed and to the UGC test, can lead to selection of those with no training and competence to generate creative ideas. Some of the recent selections made could have suffered from this flaw. The Vice-Chancellor seems committed on attracting talent. However, for this, the short-listing criteria should be modified.

Guru Nanak Dev University at Amritsar is ahead of Punjabi University in having short-listing and selection criteria that are more sensitive to creativity and production of ideas. Without specific allocation of marks for published papers, books, seminars attended, teaching experience, candidates capable of generating creative ideas cannot be recruited. This alone can check the intellectual decadence and downward slip of present academics at the university.

It is not easy to make such improvements when even the Dean of Academic Affairs of the university is without Ph.D. although the selection committee has said that he should obtain the degree within a specified period. Still, the strong will of the Vice-Chancellor can bring about the much-needed changes.

Dr GURBHAGAT SINGH, Former Dean of Languages, Punjabi University, Patiala



Best Bakery: A big respite

The Supreme Court directive to shift the hearing of the Best Bakery case away from Gujarat to Maharashtra comes as a big respite. It also raises the hope that the guilty will be punished and the rule of law will prevail.

At the same time, it reflects the state of affairs in Gujarat. The situation there is very intimidating and oppressive. The apex court ruling is based on the ground realities prevailing in Gujarat. This violation of democratic norm and requirement of democratic society has been created by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in pursuance of his Hindutva agenda. This has polarised the communities very badly. It is also encouraging and protecting the perpetrators of violence.

The encouragement given to the violators of law is a matter of shame. Mr Modi should resign in the wake of the ruling. But will he do so?



Fleecing parents

Education has become commerce for most public schools. Even small schools charge Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 as admission fee. Books, uniform and others are charged extra. What is the government doing to curb this exploitation? Some schools are minting money in the name of convent education.

There should be some kind of regulatory mechanism to check this day-light robbery of lower middle class parents. The government should formulate rules, terms and conditions to check this menace and save the middle class from this exploitation.


Mata Kaulan

In the report "Kaulsar also to get filtered water" (March 28), Mata Kaulan has been mentioned as a Muslim woman. According to Bhai Kahan Singh's Mahaan Kosh, she was a Hindu girl, named Kamla. She was purchased by Qazi Rustam Khan Mazang of Lahore, who brought her up as a maid servant and enlightened her on Islamic tenets. But she had a predilection of Guru Hargobind.

Tarikh-e-Punjab mentions her only as Qazi's maid servant. However, some Sikh chroniclers assert that she was Qazi’s daughter and, being of a religious disposition, a disciple of a Muslim saint, Mian Mir, who had laid the foundation stone of the Golden Temple. Her refusal to marry incensed the Qazi, who treated her cruelly. On the advice of Mian Mir, she came under the asylum of Guru Hargobind. The Qazi complained to Jahangir terming the matter as abduction, but the emperor did not interfere.

Evidently, Mata Kaulan was a staunch adherent of Sikh faith and stood high in Guru Hargobind's favour, who excavated a tank, Kaulasar, in her memory.


Logic of car prices

This has reference to the news item (March 30) in which a high and luxury saloon “Maybach” car is reported to have been launched by a company that is priced at Rs 6 crore including 4 per cent octroi and 12 per cent registration charges with a basic price of Rs 5.25 core.

It is beyond one’s comprehension to understand how the companies fix such high prices. Are these cars made of gold or what other precious material that could justify so high a price? It is the right of the people and the responsibility of the manufacturing companies and the government to make public as to how the prices are worked out, i.e. how much is the cost, how much is the overhead charge and how much is the profit and so on.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh

Importance of Physics

Dr B.R. Sood’s article “Preparing for pre-medical tests” (Education Tribune, April 10) is like a guide to the science students who are busy preparing for medical and engineering college admissions. He wrote the truth that Physics plays the most important role for getting success in the entrance exams. The comparison of MCQ test with a race track of time is apt.


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