Any form of representation can at best be partial. Its determinants are space, time, personalities, quality, ideology, opportunism and many others. How is higher academia in Bihar represented in the public domain to the people of Bihar and to those outside? Despite the onerous responsibilities and the remarkable work of those academics that still prop up a failing system, infrastructure and quality, recruitment and appointments have left a great deal to be desired in the last couple of decades. Sadly, these metaphors of failure represent higher academia.
The universities are represented by the Vice Chancellors, the teachers and employees by their respective associations and students through their public conduct and achievements. Changes for the better must include decision making that needs to transcend irrational choices so that in the years to come, representability may be respectable and credible. Credibility is the most substantive component of public trust. We have reason to believe that we are living in an era of hope, of resurgence. Development of any kind must necessarily include education because, at the end of the day, education is an agency of hope, emancipation and change. For a start, let us respect education and those connected with it and in return, let the institutions be accountable to the people. Education needs the best minds and the best minds can be drawn by attractive remunerations, respectable housing and other benefits at par with peer professionals. The best in education hinges on the balance of autonomy and accountability.
The other side of the picture, if we fail, is very gloomy. If the problems of university education are not addressed, institutions will continue to produce unemployable young people; unfit to occupy positions commensurate with their qualifications and because of their qualifications, unable to take up menial jobs. The cascading effect of poor higher education where degree holders are compromised individuals in terms of knowledge, communication and ethics means that the schools are likely to be affected adversely. When the current crop of excellent teachers retire their places will be taken up by those that are hardly qualified to teach. The result will be disastrous for the state. Parents of children in Bihar who are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of education (and education is valued very highly in the state) will then be forced to their children out much earlier than the current prevalent practice.
Lets get together and make a beginning. We owe it to our state.