Friday, May 09, 2008

Man on a mission

The youngest Vice-Chancellor of Sikkim University is on a drive to reformulate the

varsity’s syllabus and restructure administrative policies so that there will be no dearth of
wherewithal in making the varsity chapter an international success, writes DB Rai

Professor Mahendra P Lama, the vice chancellor of Sikkim University, is the first youngest VC of any Indian University. He was a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and now he is keen to reform Sikkim University so as to give it world-class repute. He wishes the university to work in terms of an institutional dynamism so that it would attract students from the northeast states as well as Nepal, Bangladesh and South West China.
Referring to the vision of the chief minister Pawan Chamling and prime minister Manmohan Singh, Professor Lama said, the leaders have the vision to construct a supreme University in this region, so that there will be no dearth of wherewithal in making the varsity chapter an international success.
Elaborating on this he said, “If a candidate will apply for his masters degree in history they would be taught a separate paper along with it that would include studies about the Himalayan features, the ethnicity of the surrounding areas like North East, Nepal and some parts of China. This would enhance their knowledge about this region and would help them appreciate this University.”
Professor Lama revealed, “The University is going to function as world-class institute and it is also going to craft four policies. They are making the rules and regulations, academic plans and schedules, infrastructure and revamp of the colleges, which fall under the University.
Under the university act, Professor Lama elaborated, “The University is an autonomous body and hence it has the power to decide its own norms. So we do not want to fail and lag behind in anyway.”
For the academic programme he said that the university will introduce three categories, traditional, non-traditional and policy studies. Under non-traditional category, there will be study of climates, military science etc. Whereas in policy studies there will be study about border and glaciers of the Himalayan range and so on.
Regarding the infrastructure, Professor Lama said that “we have a selected architectural team who are studying to give the design of the University whether the varsity would be in Sikkimese, Oriental or Western style”.
The architectural team is also determining the mode of the building so as to make it earthquake-proof, energy-efficient, “disabled”-friendly, etc. Besides, the varsity building set up in a 300-acre spread at Yang-Yang (South Sikkim) will have almost every kind of facilitiy, like a super class football field, hospital, banking, railway and air ticket counters.
The university is also planning to revamp the entire administration of the Colleges. As soon as the administration of the colleges come under the University form North Bengal University, they will have semester based examination system and there will be total six semesters for a complete degree course. This will make the students to catch up with their subjects, with a steady help from their Professors, he said.
Unfolding the work culture of the University, Professor Lama said, “We would not be having any peons. Every individual officer and teacher will have to clean their own table and chairs by which way they would understand and appreciate the value of self servicing.” The time of the office would be from 9.30am to 5.30 pm. He said, “I am not here to do a government job but I feel like am on a missionary mode and we have shouldered to complete a mission by giving our dedication and hardwork.”
We had our conversation for about half-an-hour at the new administrative office of the University. As soon as I finished my queries with a laptop, he went to his table to finish his job. On a missionary mode, indeed.