There’s been rather somewhat of hue and cry over a decision of the VTU (that’s Karnataka’s version of Anna University) powers-that-be to try and get the two lakh engineering students of the state to stop using powered vehicles and to get them to use public transport instead. The student body at VTU are up in arms about this move.
Now, I have many reservations myself about a decision of this sort:
- A central governing body cannot possibly decide things for two hundred different colleges and two lakh students, each of whose situations is different.
- Most of these students don’t live on campus and since a college can only ban vehicles ‘on’ campus, nothing prevents these fellows from parking their bikes outside the college’s gates, which means all the college will end up doing is to cause a little more hassle for its students and other commuters wherever the students decide to park their vehicles.
What irks me about the remonstrations of the student body is their disingenuousness. The students want bikes because traveling any other way would take away time and energy from studies? The teachers should set an example for the students by traveling using public transport themselves? And if the Vice Chancellor does travel by bus to prove his point, he should be focusing on more important things?. I also read some comment by a student (called Shruti) [In Bangalore Mirror, July 8] asking the VC to improve the examination system, improve the curriculum, improve the teaching, and to improve some other sundry things before he got around to telling the students not to drive around in vehicles. The student also wanted the VC to ban teachers from dictating notes in class.
First, and not to put too fine a point on this, but students who study everyday don’t end up at VTU.
Second, teachers and students aren’t the same thing. Deal with it.
And third, here’s a pointer for you, missie: If the VC can tell a teacher how to teach his class, he can surely tell you not to drive around on your scooter on his campus.
Most importantly, though, did these issues not exist before the VC decided to ban vehicles on his campuses? Does the student body really care about these issues, or is this just some point of leverage that is raised when VTU wants to do anything the student body doesn’t approve of? I don’t recall any protest by anybody asking for better teaching or better exams at any other time. I guess that shows what this is, doesn’t it?
What the student body cares about, and it definitely doesn’t seem to be the environment, is their freedom to escape from their colleges on a whim. If only they had the integrity to say this. On the other hand, if they did, maybe they would’ve also asked VTU for better facilities, better exams, better curricula and better teachers, a long time ago, and not as a point in a debate about vehicles.