Nowadays, Pune as a city, is recognised for its academic character. It has a wide range of universities providing a large spectrum of courses and an amazing student life. Surprisingly, a hub of higher education recently faced a peculiar issue. The Savitribai Phule Pune University is among the top 10 universities in India according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework 2017 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. This is a proof of the prestige attached to this University.
Recently, the University declared its rules for eligibility of students to get the gold medal. Surprisingly, instead of focusing on merit, they announced that only vegetarians and teetotallers are eligible for the same. Many students of the university were raged by the same and questioned the basis of recognition with the particular educational set up. This issue sheds light on how merit is continuously sidelined even in institutions that are supposed to play an important role in underlining the need for recognition of academic excellence. This is a reflection of where our education system stands and what it truly stands for.
This turn of events is actually important because it is an example of how the ideology of those who are on top of an institution’s authority, impose hogwash on students through the medium of education. The necessity of this issue lies in the very fact that many a times, such a use of power play in education goes unexposed. Such an occurrence gives people an opportunity to question, challenge and eventually change the scenario.
And that is exactly what happened. After facing a lot of flak, the University authorities discarded this new circular which stated that the gold medal will be awarded to the student who is “a vegetarian” and “free of any vices”.
“We have withdrawn the 10-year-old circular after objections were raised from various quarters, said a senior official of the University.
And that, is the power of media.