‘Lecturers must be allowed to exercise freedom
Auxilia Katongomara in Chennai, India
A LOCAL higher education delegation has toured top Indian medical facilities, one of them run by a university in a move that is expected to revolutionise the way local universities are run.
On Monday, the delegation led by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, toured the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) which is among top ranked institutions in terms of medical research.
Yesterday, the delegation made up of mainly vice chancellors toured SRM University which specialises in STEM. The delegates were shown the university’s hospital and medical school that have state-of-the-art equipment and offers specialist treatment such as neurology, cardiology, and plastic surgery.
SRM University which trains 7 000 engineering students annually is one of the top notch private universities in Asia and runs two hospitals.
Both the AIIMS and SRM University have offered to partner the country’s universities through memoranda of understanding to be facilitated by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Science and Technology Development in the faculties of medicine.
The university’s vice chancellor Professor Prabir Bagchi said lecturers must be allowed to exercise freedom in their duties as success and global recognition of local universities lies in the academic staff running faculties.
Prof Bagchi said in most developing countries administration and vice chancellors were operating under a misguided notion that they must govern faculties.
“As far as I’m concerned vice chancellors and administrators have only one job to make the conditions conducive for the faculty to excel, nothing else matters. Universities are made by faculty, not by administration, not by vice chancellors, it’s the faculty that defines an institution,” said Prof Bagchi.
“If you don’t have faculty governance you will never have a university. Please understand, in many developing countries this is misunderstood, this is often not adhered to unless you can create conditions that faculty can excel, your university will never be global, never be world class. If you look at the top notch universities in the world, you will find one common trait and that is faculty governance any other thing is immaterial.”
He said STEM was the way to go for African countries, Zimbabwe included.
Prof Bagchi said SRM has an alumni of about 40 000 students specialising in STEM which is the global front most institutions are taking.