Banaras Hindu University Vice-Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi on Thursday took a jibe at ‘Occupy UGC’ protesters — who have been demonstrating for days against the scrapping of non-NET fellowships — claiming that the fellowship money was used by students to “purchase motorcycles”.
Tripathi made the comments while speaking on the topic of ‘Higher Education: Changing Scenario’, at the 30th Foundation Day celebrations of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
“These days, there is a huge ruckus about the non-NET fellowship issue. People have even burnt effigies and what not. But I have seen the reality… I have seen how students collect their fellowship money for 7-8 months and then buy a motorcycle. What they do after that, I don’t want to say on a public platform,” he said.
Arguing that “99.9 per cent students are interested in jobs, not research”, the vice-chancellor also questioned the existence of multiple central universities.
“A majority of students don’t want to do research. They are doing it only because we (teachers) are forcing them to do it. That’s why I also don’t see the point of opening so many central universities. There should be more polytechnic colleges instead,” he said.
Tripathi also said that it was time to “connect” with ancient India “Our educational vision should be universal in one sense but should also be rooted in the culture and values of India, taught to us by our rishis and munis. After India became independent, we got disconnected with ancient India. Now it is time to connect with it,” he said.
Calling IGNOU the largest university of the world, its vice-chancellor Nageshwar Rao said, “We have a total enrollment of 28 lakh students… for the July session, we received over 3 lakh applications, which is 25 per cent higher than the previous year. We are trying to reach places where formal education cannot reach. We are also going to conduct a job fair, which will be exclusively for women students.”