‘We’re the Syndicate, let’s not be a cartel’

‘We’re the Syndicate, let’s not be a cartel’

The Government of Karnataka recently did the commendable job of filling all the Syndicate positions across the 19 state-funded Universities in the state through nominations. According to the Karnataka State Universities Act (2000), the Syndicate of each University comprises of 20 members, of which six are nominated by the state government. 

Further, by organising a one-day workshop on February 7, at the Vikasa Soudha, the state government has taken a novel step and is communicating the significance of the role of the Syndicate members in establishing good and effective governance.

“Honesty is necessary, but not sufficient to perform,” this statement is often repeated in bureaucratic circles. We have been nominated as syndicate members of universities with the hope and expectation that we will perform, and deliver.

Well, it is quite possible for us to get sucked into the present-day academic environment in public universities which is largely influenced by everything else except the academics!

It is quite possible for us to get sucked into the present-day academic environment in universities are influenced by everything but academics! However, when this happens, everything is either ‘black’ or ‘white’. Black represents corruption, violation of rules, dishonesty, and the poor virtues of administrators and officers of the university. When this is the case, we will smell a rat in every file. In such a frame of mind, the crusader in us wakes up and we are engulfed in the task of cleansing the system.

Unknowingly, our time (of three years) is consumed in investigating and initiating disciplinary proceedings, lodging first information reports (FIRs), exposing people and taking punitive actions against the ‘wrong-doers’ in the university!

When we actually look back at the end of our three-year term, we will realise that we have achieved nothing. There was no work done in evolving systems that could minimise corrupt practices or we have not come up with new initiatives for the youth!

It is understandable that evolving systems takes time; but, someone has to begin, right? While we have been bestowed with the power as a syndicate member, the need of the hour is to be a foot soldier in both and action. We have to lead by example— by being objective, focused and committed.

Our objective should be to make public universities the most sought-after destination for young minds—for both students and young teachers. As a board or Syndicate member, one can get on the mission of identifying the ‘white’ in the system (this can be good, effective and responsible people, processes or systems), and dissect them to understand what makes them work so well and implement it across the university.

While, we, as state nominees to the Syndicate of the state universities, have a defined time frame of three years, the only way to achieve our shared dream of quality through responsibility is to empower the good in these systems so that it can sustain. The culture starts with commitment, communication and practice. For this, we need to be the change we wish to see.

But who will evaluate us? Should we be evaluated at all for our ‘performance’? We should be evaluated, for we are the foot soldiers of the Department of Higher Education. We are the representatives of the various stakeholders of the university.

Are we ready to challenge one another, have well-informed debates and be accountable to ourselves and others?

(The writer is among the 111 Syndicate members nominated by the government recently

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