Job cut out for Wilson



SHIMLA: Coming from a premier institute like St. Stephen’s, the new VC of Himachal Pradesh University, Anil Wilson, has a job cut out for him. Being a former student himself from the university and a teacher as well, he’ll find many a familiar faces around him, and that should not make his job much more difficult.
Can Wilson take the varsity to the levels of Stephen’s? Only time will tell. But since the time he left the cool climes of Shimla for the sprawling lawns of Stephen’s, not much has changed in the varsity. It would be wise for him to guard himself from affiliations to political parties, particularly when there is a history of VCs being embroiled in political mires.
Can Wilson make teachers attend classes? Can he make students attend lectures regularly? Can he improve the varsity infrastructure? Can he provide better facilities for students? Can he bring to naught the frequent student union strikes? Can he improve the syllabus, which belongs to the pre-historic days? These are some questions that all academicians dealing with higher education in the state have been grappling with, even as Himachal is being lauded at all forums for delivering above par in primary education.
Wilson brings in experience and is apt at handling politics as well, particularly in the wake of the controversy he got involved into with Bishop Karam Masih, the chairman of St Stephen’s supreme council in 2005.
While almost all former VCs had been complaining about pushes and pulls, Wilson should understand that the situation won’t be any different during his tenure either. Someone would have to burn his fingers to put things in order. All departments of the university need to be infused with competitive spirit to make them aim for excellence. As of now no department has been doing much, except for completing the formality of going about the routine. The new VC should make efforts to identify and groom at least a couple of departments as centres of excellence so that others may follow. Such an initiative is important because sooner or later private universities would break the monopoly HPU enjoys right now, thus putting to question its existence.
Efforts should also be made to generate in-house funds to sponsor research work, which is only possible if departments with potential to attract sponsorships from private bodies are shaken up. The VC also needs to strictly implement the academic calendar, which time and again has been abused in the past. Also, new colleges being set up across the state need to be monitored closely as there is no point running a college just for the sake of formality. Being a tough academician, Wilson should apprise the government about the true state of education in the state, rather than being diplomatic about solving issues. All this is easier said than done, but a starting has to be made by someone, and Wilson can take the lead.


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