“A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning”
- Benjamin Disraeli
The unfortunate part is that even the students, whose lives should revolve around seeking knowledge, do not get the pleasure of learning. One may say that the students of this generation are not as serious as the students of previous generations, and that might be true in some cases, but not in all, as a matter of fact it is the environment of the university too that creates a barrier between a student and knowledge, combine that with societal pressure and you will have a list of students who, people consider, are not ‘good enough’ or who are ‘not smart enough.’
An architectural structure with huge gates and a name written on top is not a university, that is just a campus. A university must be where each student is treated fairly, regardless of what grades s/he has scored. Is it necessary that a student who has the highest score in the class is the most intelligent? Many people would say yes, while the others would say no, it depends on how you perceive intelligence. Is intelligent just the answers written on an answer sheet in 3 hours or is it the overall knowledge of a person, that has been acquired through experience and practice along with reading the books?
What if all that a university taught a student was the course knowledge and nothing else? What if all the knowledge you had was just the knowledge of your course and nothing else? Would an engineering student be able to protect himself from getting exploited from a seller if he does not know the consumer rights? How would a management student be able to manage his stress level without the knowledge of certain techniques to stay calm headed in stressful situations? I am not saying that these things are taught to a student as a subject, but do you remember talking to your peers or teachers who gave you certain advice that was beyond your curriculum? That is knowledge, the environment created to learn more than just what is written in books and that is an ideal university.
A word that I have often heard myself when I started my life as a college student was ‘debarred’ and trust me before that I had never even heard the term. Is the whole idea about the strict attendance is to get the students to the class? If so, then the concept is on point, the students attend the class but it is on their mood if they would let the teacher continue with their lecture or if they want to waste it by disturbing the teacher and other students.
In fact, I have heard from people who are not that older to me that they did not even know this concept in their college life but everyone would attend the class – to study. Let me assure you that if this pressure of maintaining an attendance was removed from the students, the ones who want to study would attend the class, as a matter of fact they would enjoy those classes even more! What about those who will now have the liberty of never attending the classes? Well, trust me, they did not attend the classes with that sword hanging over their heads anyways and those who did and created a hindrance would of course leave but they will also leave an environment behind them where others could grow.
Another problem is the ideal course that many parents choose for their children, well it must be something related to those few subjects that you can count on your fingers otherwise the rest is just a waste of time, right? Maybe that boy who could not write a C++ programme is really good at sketching or that girl who could not understand the concept of Vertex Operator Algebras can compel others to move their feet when she dances, and that boy who sits at the last bench in the class of International Finance makes everyone stop and listen when he sings, and other countless talents that have been hidden behind the burdens of attaining the perfect marks just because ‘What will other say?’
In universities, today, not enough push is given to the students for taking part in activities other than their regular studies and if a teacher recognizes that talent and pushes the student to participate in those activities the management does not support the student to give their 100% Even the teachers cannot allow the students to practice for something on a department level just because both the parties may end up in trouble. Why is it that only Physics, Maths, Economics, English and subjects like that are given importance? Not every student is born to be a scientist, or a doctor, or a counsellor, or a businessman, or a professor what about the singers, poets, writers, chefs, dancers, actors and other such talents? Imagine a world without these talents, wouldn’t it be a plain world? But then why do even some top universities not cater to these talents of their students?
Even the teachers cannot exercise liberty when it comes to delivering a lecture. There is a set pattern of curriculum, some fixed minutes of lecture, unchangeable timetable that the teacher must abide by no matter what. Some may say that it is necessary to have a set of rules imposed on everything and yes, it is important, but when in all this tug of war is the teacher supposed to groom the student for the outside world as well? Can a teacher really teach the course topic as well as deliver some new knowledge to the students in the 7th lecture that is of 50 minutes?
Much of the time spend by a student is in the university with the teachers and the students who are away from home have those teachers to look up to as role models even those who stay at home look up to the teachers as their role models but when is the teacher supposed to teach students more than what is prescribed to them? In between all the stress of the work even the teacher suffers, but sometimes the students do not understand the pressure that has been put on the teachers because those perfect human beings never complain, and always put their heart in every work given to them especially for their students.
I have been fortunate enough to have teachers that I can look up to and talk to when I have some trouble that cannot be managed by myself but the best part is that those teachers are the ones who are always available to lend an ear, and solve the issues. This relationship is only because the university has the environment to nurture it.
No matter how many faults we find in the university one things is for sure, when other students and I step out of the nurturing gates of the university we will be completely different from the way we entered the university. The unsure, scared and immature individual will be confident, mature and strong. It is not the infrastructure of the campus that has helped so many to grow rather it is the place and the environment that has shaped us to what we are today and what we will be when we step out as young adults.
It is this university that made us willing to learn, that gave us the skill to grasp knowledge which is more than what we find in books, it is a knowledge that we will carry on for the rest of our lives.
*B.A. (H) Psychology Student (Galgotias University)
#B.A. (H) Political Science Student (Galgotias University)
#B.A. (H) Political Science Student (Galgotias University)