The Idea of a University : Essays
Universities are facing an existential crisis and are being forced to rethink and redefine their role. They are constantly being asked to explain their utility. Universities are not only centers of knowledge but also catalysers of social mobility. In a hierarchical and divided society like India, universities are the only spaces where young men and women can find occasions, and the confidence, to break social barriers.
The Idea of a University is placed in a particular moment of history, where universities are struggling to come to terms with the demands of nationalism, being undermined for their nation building environment allowing different students to mix and grow together, ironically.
Can the utility of an educational institution be quantified completely? Is the academic community grumbling and protesting because this shift in the societal and cultural norms is demanding accountability from the universities for the money that taxpayers are spending on them?
The Idea of a University discusses these pertinent issues. In these essays teachers and academics from different spaces, in terms of both subject interest and location, discuss how a university works, the historical evolution of central and state universities, the current state of different higher academic institutions in the country and the many challenges to academic freedom in contemporary India. A timely book that is thought-provoking and seeks to engage teachers, students and laypeople.
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