A Dirty Road to DAV Principalship

(Published in The Tribune, November 10, 1997)

  DAV College of Chandigarh is embroiled in an agitation on the question of appointment of a new Principal. Perhaps this is not the real question of importance. It is only that facet of the problem that can be seen and debated by those involved—the teachers and the management. The other questions are too serious to be even discussed openly. The questions that pertain to the general purpose of opening the college, classroom teaching, behaviour of students and the quality of education being imparted.

I have been a student of the college when its glory was at its zenith. Later I joined the college as a lecturer. The things have changed. Many teachers were the same but they no longer commanded same respect as in my days. The Principal had changed. He too had lost the aura of awe and wonder that had always been there in my time in the minds of students. The management bosses had no longer the halo of austerity. They were generally accused of commercialisation of education and amassing wealth.

The issues involved are simple enough. No one in the college administration or in the teaching fac­ulty can claim to be so dumb as not to know the real issues. But who will bell the cat? That is the real ques­tion.

My heart is indeed sad today. The glorious future of the college I owe so much is at stake. I hate to read in newspapers about the games the management is playing or the strike by teachers in response to the authoritarianism shown by the man­agement in the appointment of the new Principal. Earlier when I had expressed my views against the prac­tice of mass tuition, some of those involved in the controversy had objected violently. I hadn't even mentioned the name of the college but the teachers' union had threat­ened me with expulsion. Today no one seems concerned about the good name of the college.

The management wants its man to take over so that it can have total control over all funds of the college. So brutal has it been in pursuing this goal that it did not hesitate for a minute to appoint its man as the Principal even when the DPI (C) had yet to verify the members of the gov­erning body of the college according to the statutes of the university cal­endar.

The teachers naturally want to escape from the authoritarian rule and moreover they want their own man to be the Principal. I learn that 16 of my colleagues are in the fray for the post. Not that there is any thing wrong to be an aspirant for the Principal. But most candidates, from within or without, want a backdoor entry. No one is concerned remotely about merit selection perhaps because every one understands that these are the things of the past. In these days all that matters is the political pulls and pressures.

The private educational manage­ments have played a vital role in educating millions of Indians in the pre-independence and  post-independence era. The Principals of many schools and colleges in India are household names and they are remembered for their missionary zeal and dedication to the cause of social uplift through education. So many have been the teachers in these educational institutions who too are legendary figures in the field of edu­cation. Even today their students quote their authority in their specific fields of teaching. Sadly, all such managers, principals, and teachers are becoming extinct.

In this age what really matter to the common man are position, wealth and power. The goal of principalship satisfies many of these criteria. No wonder so many are in the fray. One wonders if the job involved some degree of sacrifice how many would still volunteer to be in the queue.

I wish the managers, principals and teachers would concentrate on the education of children under their charge and not indulge in such con­troversies. Let the interview for the post of Principal be held soon and let it be fair and square. The new incum­bent thus selected be welcomed by all. And let every one—students, teach­ers, the principal and managers—work together to restore the lost glory of this mighty educational institution in the region. Let the agitation bring the good fortune and thus prove a blessing in disguise! 

©Anil Sarwal