University non-academics have been on and off strike for quite sometime. According Ministry estimates the lost working days amount to an unproductive expenditure of RS: 2540 lakhs or a quarter of a billion. The total operating budget for the university system is about Rs: 8 bilion.
It is easy to blame the non-academics, but as correctly pointed out in an editorial in the Lankadeepa, many days of work were lost also due to students attacking each other and other miscellaneous misdemeanors. It is about time we put a ruppee value on these disturbances and attach a name to each loss–the name of person at whose desk the buck stops.
The buck stops at the desk of each Vice Chancellor in a university. Anybody can close down a university if the students fight, or put up a sign saying no classes today due to strikes. VCs are not paid to do that. A vice chancellor is the chairman of the Univeristy Council which is the executive body and governing authority of the university. The VC can exercise sufficient authority if they are so inclined. It is customary for our VCs to complain about the UGC and the politicians etc. but the real issue is the lack of leadership of the VCs of the present day.
It is the responsibility of the civil society to demand that leaders exercise leadership or resign. Through this forum we like to keep track of the university closures and executive officer in charge during each closure. Yes, the minister and UGC has used the non-academics’ strike to point out the cost in rupees. Let us go one step further and document the days closed, cost in rupees and CEO responsible.
Please do your civic duty. Tell us about the closures at your university. How many days. What was the cause.