University of Calicut

University of Calicut, കാലിക്കറ്റ് സര്വ്വകലാശാല

Established:

1968

Type:

Public

Vice-Chancellor:

Prof. Anwar Jahan Zuberi

Location:

Thenhipalam, Malappuram, Kerala, India

Campus:

Urban

Affiliations:

UGC

Website:

www.universityofcalicut.info

 

 

 

Students' Trap in the Calicut University Campus. It is a local joke that "Students' Trap" typifies a university that constantly indulges in corrupt and politically motivated controversial steps and hazards the career of its students and teachers. The sardonic appellation was given by Husnain, a former vice-chancellor.

The University of Calicut is an affiliating university in the southern state of Kerala in India. It is situated in Thenjipalam, in the district of Malappuram with a number of off-campus centres in neighbouring districts. The University conducts courses and examinations for the students of the affiliated colleges. Anvar Jahan Zuberi, a professor in Aligarh Muslim University, is the Vice Chancellor of the University.The main campus in Thenjipalam has departments in most of the science and humanities areas. The departments offer post graduate courses and research programmes. However, the main business in the campus is administration and conduct of examinations for all the affiliated colleges which number above 250. For this reason the University has often been criticised as a Gumastalayam (abode of office clerks) rather than an academic centre. (Samakalika Malayalam weekly, March, April issues ran serial on the shabby state of universities in Kerala where this criticism was levelled at some length.). It has been a regular practice for some time to keep officially chosen administrators out of office and to have politically desirable persons usurp office. As of 2008, one T. K. Narayanan the leader of the pro-CPI(M) teacher's union has been wielding office of the registrar after suspending the officially appointed registrar Muhammed.

 

 Teaching Departments

Important departments include mathematics, life science, botany, physics, chemistry, zoology, school of health sciences, biotechnology, mass communication, language departments like Malayalam, English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Russian, Arabic etc. The campus witnessed some remarkable progress during the tenure of Dr. Seyed E. Hasnain as vice-chancellor. New amenities were created and computerisation drive was intensified. An observatory was set up in the campus. However, most of his achievements have been overturned by the politically motivated successors. CPI(M), the leader of the ruling co-coalition of Kerala has control over the university. Media reports show that there is rampant corruption in almost any appointment/ affair in the University.

 

A side view of C H Mohammed Koya Library. At the entrance stands a flagpole of Students Federation of India, symbolising the overly politicised campus.

 Anti-academic campaign at the university

In 2009 the University received much negative coverage by the press following a prolonged conspiracy and attempt by the pro-CPI(M) syndicate to oust from teaching posts young talents engaged during the tenure of a former syndicate. The politically motivated and vindictive move engineered by members of the Association of Calicut University Teachers (ACT), an organisation owing allegiance to CPI(M) was exposed by the news dailies Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi and a periodical Madhyamam Weekly.

 Colleges

There are more than 250 colleges affiliated to this university at present. Over 150 of these colleges are owned by private organisations or individuals and most of them are aided by the state government.

 

 Historical context

Calicut University was established in 1968. Administered by a very able educator-administrator, Dr. M.M.Ghani, in its early years in the '70s, the University attracted a fairly sizeable set of young talent. Some of the early faculty in the '70s and '80s would compare very favourably in terms of calibre, with the best institutes/universities of India and abroad. The University had especially strong faculty in Physics, Zoology, Chemistry, Botany, History, Malayalam, English and Physical Education. There was a certain vibrance to the whole campus. The Campus locales spread over around 400 acres (1.6 km2) in rural Malappuram district, had the feel of a hill station. T.P. Rajeevan a well known poet in Malayalam is the Public Relations Officer of the University.

From this high point of academia in the '80s, when among other things, a Cockroft-Walton particle accelerator was put in place on campus, the University has unfortunately steadily declined. Right now, it's almost the perfect example of how despite the general lack of societal inequality and high rates of literacy, good post-graduate education has suffered in Kerala. Bad administration and highly politicized employment policies have led to an alarming absence of good faculty, and to an extent, good students.

 

 Criminal Politics

Main article: Calicut University Employees Union

Calicut University Employees Union owing allegiance to CPI(M) is known for attacks on men of other organisations and even the Registrar of the University. They also have a history of sexually harassing fellow workers. A woman employee named P. E. Usha whose legal battles against the University authorities and one Prakasan, an activist of Calicut University Employees Union who defamed her, has been a hot topic in the media for a few years

 

University Cafeteria for students and staff. Once surrounded by thickets, it now has a paved yard where the lone sacred fig stands

 Harassment of female staff

A series of noted incidents following complaints by P. E. Usha an employee at the University put the University authorities in the dock . Members of Calicut University Employees Union who made a slandering campaign against P. E. Usha were protected by the University authorities.

 Pareeksha Bhavan

Pareeksha Bhavan, the branch of the university that oversees the conduct of examinations in over 250 affiliated colleges and which awards degrees is the largest wing of the university. The branch has been always in the news for interminable delay in the conduct of examinations, overturned schedules, illegal awarding of marks to the kin of the party bosses, computerisation gone awry etc.

A former vice-chancellor of the University, Dr. Iqbal Husnain used to call this block a "hell" because of the extreme harsh working conditions there.