A university is not unlike a spaceship in the heavenly space of knowledge. The Spaceship, the command, the crew, the system are integral components of the enterprise. Its primary mission is to explore the frontiers of knowledge.
Its level of autonomy would determine the frontiers it is able to explore. The more autonomous it is the further could it go. Excessive ground control would limit it to be a standing satellite, stagnant in stratosphere or at most the orbiting of mother earth only.
An ambience of idealism is a prerequisite, without which what hope would it be for the incubation of ideas, innovations and inspirations and the courage to explore into nothingness.
The culture of patronage must not be allowed to creep in the space ship nor at Ground control and similarly in universities. It is a place among equals where only knowledge and wisdom matters.
I am worried if I see the opposites happening in any university be it in a third world or first. It is but a reflection of society, you may say. Shouldn’t we have the luxury of having hope, or even some comfort that idealism is alive and kicking?
It is the last place I expect to see the perpetuation of the culture of patronage. Patronage in a university system is anaemic to its autonomy. If subscribed by its chancellor and the university management, meritocracy is as good as dead. THe Chancellor is supposed to be the courageous commander of a spaceship whose duty is to explore frontiers and not a driver of a train who takes command from a stationmaster. A true scholar is servant to none except to his Giver of knowledge.
It is the last place I expect to listen to an uninspiring proffessor. It is the last place I expect to see chauvinism, racism and polarisation. It is the last place I expect honor being determined by political position. It is the last place where forms rule over substance.
A university must not degenerate to a polytechnic. It is not a spinning wheel in the production of the working class. It is also not a place for the training of kids to political zombies or at its best political cadres.
I expect a lot more from a university. Or should I turn my hope to something else? There is hope. In its midst, I could still hear a whimper of reason. Thank you friend.