Q. How students are suffering due to faculty shortage at universities?
A: Students are suffering badly due to shortage of teachers, teachers are not able to give proper attention to students, the quality of teachers is not good in many of the institutions so students are not able to get good quality teaching. Students are only looking for degrees so that they can get job they are not learning to contribute to the growth of the society.
Q. What are the challenges you face as the Vice Chancellor of a University?
A: Academic management is a challenging task because of number of forces acting on you, interference from different points. All the divisions that are there in the society on various lines are there in the university system among the students, teaching staff, non-teaching staff. Balancing all this and surging ahead is the major change.
Universities should be universal in character, but they are local in character, regional in character and all kinds of narrow thinking is there.
Q. What are the various unique academic practices being followed at your university?
A: Due to shortage of faculty at engineering colleges affiliated to us they were not taking classes so we introduced biometric system to monitor the attendance of the students. E-learning materials are being prepared and students are being encouraged to take advantage of them. We also emphasize on students gaining practical knowledge rather than just classroom knowledge.
Q. What according to you is a world class university? What can India do to have one?
A: World Class University is a university where high quality research work is done which helps the society, in terms of technology or social changes.
Merit should get the importance, meritorious candidates are not selected and given the opportunity, with these problems we cannot reach the top.
Universities in India need good quality infrastructure, equipments and above all right kind of environment where only academic knowledge in considered, no other factors should be considered. Unfortunately even in best institutions like IITs this is not the case, nepotism plays an important role, connections, recommendations, political interference, all this is killing the academic instinct of the researchers and the academicians.
Q. How research can be improved in the university system?
A: Research is not getting the due share it should get, it is not given importance. Research fellowships should be increased and it should be part of every educational institution. Wherever there is master’s programme there should also be a full time PhD programme with fellowships being given on a larger scale. There should be incentivisation for research, because we have the talent but it is not being nurtured properly.
Q. Would like you to name any three universities from your region which are doing remarkably good?
A: JNTU-Hyderabad, University of Hyderabad and Andhra University are the two universities that are doing well in this region.
(Prof Lal has recently retired from his post)