Sunday Snippets: The New Universities
Sunday Snippets: The New Universities
By Venkatesh Raghavan
Amir and I were chatting again about the film Kashmir Files at our favourite Irani cafe and the issue of new universities cropped up. The issue hotly debated was actually about the claim made by the director Vivek Agnihotri that his film had been short-listed for nominations to be made for the Oscar awards. Amir voiced his sharp discord with the director’s pronouncement. Our conversation went somewhat like this.
Amir: It seems the director is suffering from a severe bout of hallucinations. The fact is just about fulfilling eligibility criteria for movies that can be placed as entry to the Oscars.
Me: With new universities being set up Amir, we have to change with the times and prepare ourselves for new learning techniques and models. As our Prime Minister played rock star at Bandra Kurla complex, a few years ago, crooning “now the times are changing,” it will do us good to stay tuned to the new learning avenues or seat of learning centres.
Amir: You are talking in riddles. I have no idea what this has got to do with universities or seats of learning. I am talking about a specious claim that was later found to be untrue.
Me: Wait, Amir. Allow me to list the universities I am referring to by naming them. We first have WhatsApp University, then Facebook University (now named Meta), Twitter University and so on. These universities are powerful seats of learning with tons and tons of enthusiastic learners filing their two cents of knowledge about any current topic, be it films, politics, science, medicine or sports for that matter.
Amir: How on earth do you claim these to be seats of learning? Your claim sounds more specious than that of the director Agnihotri.
Me: Try to understand Amir. The best learning technique in the world is to present an example and a non-example for the learners to be able to discern right and wrong. Two aspects, namely vainglorious boasting and bragging present themselves as non-examples. Those involved in the verification and rectifying of such claims provide examples.
Amir: How on earth can you deem these digital media tools as universities? Are you suggesting these platforms are capable of certifying and endorsing a person’s knowledge stream?
Me: It’s nothing to do with your certification, Amir. Get it right, when I say we have to change with the times. Degrees and certificates that used to be of great value can be done away with as we are switching to green technologies and green energy usage. As a part of the “Go Green” movement, our educators will shower their students with a barrage of both fake and genuine information. Over a period of time, the students will learn to make fact checks and be able to discern what’s right from wrong.
Amir: What I fail to understand is how can these “universities” impart knowledge in specialized fields like say Physics or electronics or engineering subjects.
Me: That should not be a problem. WhatsApp groups having the same set of interests provide information and details on any subject be it quantum theory or Elon Musk’s space odyssey or change in the RBI regulations for that matter. It’s just about choosing the correct WhatsApp group to tune into your area of interest.
Amir: You are sounding great. Why on earth are people spending money to study at deemed universities besides wasting a few years of their lives to obtain certification?
Me: Deemed universities Amir, are in fact employment opportunities. Just think how much employment is created by appointing professors, research staff, peons, administration personnel, laboratory assistants and so on.
Amir: Yes. It is from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Now I understand how Agnihotri counts his Oscars (Chuckles).