Committee says no to politics in law colleges Saturday, Jul 25 2009 

legaleducationThe report of the expert committee on reforming legal education system in Kerala may shock budding politicians and political parties.
It says that law students, if they are serious of studies, could have very little leisure or vacation and cannot afford to indulge in political party activities. It wants the government to revamp legal education with classes and internship throughout the year. This should be a shocker to the budding politicians who join the Law Academy Law College in Trivandrum to continue as student leaders and graduate into politics.

The report says nothing about need for additional law colleges. It proposes separation of professional legal education from regular universities even while acknowledging that legal curriculum encompasses almost all subjects in varying degrees. It suggests that each of the nine law colleges in the State should develop into autonomous universities. Imagine nine vice chancellors and appurtenances.

But for these, the report contain solid recommendations which needed to be implemented without delay to improve the quality of lawyers produced by our law colleges. Of course, politics will have to take the backseat.

The Hindu has more about the report.

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Doctorates for all: Mammootty, Shilpa, Akshay … Sunday, Jan 4 2009 

Mammootty

Mammootty

It is becoming easier to get a doctorate from a University in India these days. Anyone can aspire for a doctorate these days as the standards are falling.

Now that doctorates are essential for promotions in colleges, doctorates are being awarded by the universities at unprecedented rates. If you look at the theses, not many merits a second look. It is no surprise that the contribution of our universities to knowledge is insignificant. India would have progressed faster if our universities were free from politics and devoted themselves to pursuit of knowledge.

However, the trend is in the opposite direction. Appointments to the universities have become political. People have also started getting doctorates on political grounds. The trend had started possibly in Tamil Nadu with M. G. Ramachandran being showered upon with honorary doctorates by universities. The Madras University has so far awarded about 400 honorary doctorates to various personalities including Sonia Gandhi.

Foreign universities are also not much behind in awarding honorary doctorates to politicians and film stars. The awardees include Karnataka Minister B S Yeddyurappa (Saginaw Valley State University of Michigan) and actors Akshay Kumar (University of Windsor, Canada) and Shilpa Shetty (Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom). So, one should not find fault with the University of Kerala granting a doctorate to actor and chairman of the pro-left Malayalam Communications Mammootty, before they gave anything like that to Aravindan or Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

The question is whether these doctorates bring any honour to the recipients. It definitely brings disrepute to the universities. When a university bestow a honorary degree, it should bring honour to itself.

Tailpiece: Higher ups in the army has reportedly decided to give the title of Lieutenant Colonel in the territorial army to actor Mohanlal for acting roles of army officer in two films. By that reckoning, how many actors would have to be given honorary IAS and IPS? When even officials conferred with IAS and IPS suffer a lower status, what would be the fate of honorary IAS and IPS officers? Hypothetical questions? Who knows when the private staff of the Ministers would be granted such titles? The next turn then will be that of actors.

Finance and P. E. Usha Wednesday, Oct 24 2007 

Calicut University Selection grade assistant P. E. Usha of Calicut University continued to be harassed by the administration. She has been on deputation to the Attappady Hill Area Development Society, on her application, after she faced a vilification campaign at the University on her filing a sexual harassment case.

Now, the Finance Department is objecting to extension of her deputation despite a Supreme Court order that women who faced harassment should be given safe posting.
Earlier, she had been granted extension upon intervention by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan. (Her salary had been withheld). This time also she got a no-objection certificate from the University for extension of the deputation after intervention by the Chief Minister.

The Finance Department is maintaining that there were legal objections to the extension of the term, as Usha had not cited any reason for seeking extension of deputation beyond five years. This looks strange because she would have mentioned the background in her petition to the Chief Minister.

Instead of sticking to technicalities, the Finance Department— or any Department for that matter— should be functioning with a purpose of helping people. May be the Department is trying to save a deputation allowance for the exchequer. However, it could save much more if it looks at the Attappady Hill Area Development Project itself.

A lot of money has been getting wasted on the Project, which had been delayed considerably. The tribals would have been better off if the money spent on projects for them in Attappady after independence was deposited in a bank and interest proceeds distributed to them on a monthly basis. (They would have been earning at least Rs. 10000 a month).