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Jamia VC Must Remember That Education is Not for Sale


Jamia Millia Islamia has located its first lady vice-chancellor. Yes, as students, teachers, and educationists, we are keen to look at how Professor Najma Akhtar imagines the concept of a college and strives for its implementation, especially when public universities are in deep disaster. The cause of the neoliberal marketplace – driven by the expanded growth of private universities – transforms education into a commodity on the market.

However, her preliminary assertion isn’t very promising. She feels that some guides are ‘old-style and have lost their relevance. Moreover, she feels that the courses need to be advanced ‘in consultation with industries ‘because ‘we ought to learn how to earn. ‘She isn’t satisfied with the reality that ‘imperative universities had been spoon-fed using the authorities.’ Hence, universities need to earn something in their personal lives.

I agree with her that we must reformulate, replace, and revise the courses we educate on. A university grows simplest if it is inclined to innovate and experiment. However, the chance is that I discovered the celebration of an instrumental orientation to the tradition and practice of higher education during her tone.

Where is the intrinsic price of the training?

First, allow us to reflect on the belief of ‘relevance.’ If you enable the market or the enterprise to define what’s ‘applicable’ and what is ‘worth gaining knowledge of,’ you wreck the very concept of a college: its idealism, epistemological pluralism, quest for foundational know-how, and longing for better values.


A college should be an area where you must count on an Urdu literature professor conversing with a biotechnology researcher in the cafeteria. A university should be where poetry, philosophy, and theoretical physics are celebrated, even if these branches of information don’t directly relate to the industries. A university needs to be where students and instructors can dare to see something beyond ‘callous cash price.’

Take an easy instance. A resort management graduate would possibly have a pretty smooth process. But then, a Ph.D. in ancient history won’t guarantee immediate placement and a good profits bundle. Does it imply that records as a subject are much less relevant than motel control or style designing? In truth, Professor Akhtar has forgotten that if understanding is described simply using ‘instrumental’ hobbies, we lose ‘hermeneutic’ and’ emancipatory’ opportunities in schooling.

To reduce the college into a schooling college for the commercial paintings force is to assault the center precept of better schooling. Education – say, writing a book on Jamini Roy’s painting or doing a thesis on the poetry of Walt Whitman – has its intrinsic price: beyond what the enterprise regards as a ‘profit-making enterprise. Yes, jobs are crucial. But then, we should ask why the established order no longer creates jobs for literature, philosophy, physics, and arithmetic college students.

Why is it that teachers and researchers aren’t recruited properly? And why are there not sufficient fellowships and rewards for individuals who work in classical research, literature, philosophy, artwork, and aesthetics? And why does the kingdom seek to withdraw from the realm of training and ask the college to locate its assets?

Unfortunately, Professor Akhtar doesn’t always ask those questions. Instead, she appears to suggest what techno-managers do: degree the ‘outcome’ of a direction regarding its economic feasibility, prioritize the market’s needs, and reduce mastering into ‘schooling’—schooling for the ‘talents’ that the corporate international wishes.
Premchand is irrelevant, Tagore is too poetic, Marx is a ‘hassle maker, ‘ Foucault is a ‘highbrow type,’ and Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Sanskrit are simply ancient recollections—now not applicable to an age that values techno-science, commerce, and control.

As a result, as a young learner, I ought to get the message: I must pay close attention to the market-pleasant ‘applicable’ courses, and I ought not to be too busy with the opposite hobbies within the university. Sing in music with the marketplace. Don’t anticipate something higher from schooling. Is this the message that Professor Akhtar is conveying?

How no longer do we fall into the trap of ‘relevance.’

I am deeply grateful for the imagination and prescience of a public college. Yes, in the manner of my developing up, I saw that it had become lower priced. There were spirited instructors, and we got an education in a far broader feel of the period. Apart from specialization in educational disciplines, we started to price the oceanic modern-day in a college: its cosmopolitanism, its plurality of perspectives, its political debates, and its regular reflections on poetry, aesthetics, cinema, faith, and philosophy. Idealism is now not dead. Not the whole thing was measured, calculated, and advertised.

Also, read The Myth of Value-Neutral Teaching. These days, after I look at what I regard as the growing enterprise of ‘schooling shops,’ I experience the absence of this quest. With the corporatization of training, marketization of understanding, and the dissociation of ‘competencies’ from politics, ethics, and crucial thinking, these establishments transform a learner into a consumer, a teacher into a service provider, and a path into a set of measurable utilities. In surroundings filled with techno-managerial smartness, I see ‘statistics generation,’ ‘company law,’ ‘commercial enterprise control,’ and ‘medical psychology’ as appealing ‘programs’ – nearly like ‘branded’ merchandise.

No, in those schooling stores, you will no longer find Tagore talking with Einstein, Mrinal Sen speaking about Charlie Chaplin, a historian reflecting on the trade of letters between Andrews and Gandhi, and a poet talking about Allama Iqbal and Mirza Ghalib because the market has already declared those strivings as ‘useless’ and ‘non-productive. Yes, Professor Akhtar, you ought to ponder and withstand the temptation of falling into the trap of what the corporate foyer regards as ‘relevant’ training. There is no reason to think that a vice-chancellor has ceased to be an educationist.

Geneva A. Crawford
Twitter nerd. Coffee junkie. Prone to fits of apathy. Professional beer geek. Spent several years buying and selling magma in Miami, FL. Spent a year lecturing about psoriasis in Las Vegas, NV. Managed a small team writing about circus clowns in Las Vegas, NV. Garnered an industry award while writing about lint in the financial sector. Spoke at an international conference about getting my feet wet with dust in Libya. Spoke at an international conference about researching rocking horses in Bethesda, MD.