Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Student Participation in The Administration of Educational Institutions” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Student Participation in The Administration of Educational Institutions” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Student Participation in The Administration of Educational Institutions

 

The student problem has posed itself as one of the most difficult in modern societies. Never before in the history of mankind has this problem been so acute. Yet there has never been so systematic an effort, on so stupendous a scale, as now throughout the world to overcome this problem. Never before was the university campus under such grip of demonstrations, mass defiance of the rule and violence, with utter disregard for all existing directives, environmental, social, and political.

Of late, the demand for student participation in the administration of educational institutions has been gathering strength all over the world, and almost everywhere it has assumed a militant character. Students in the industrially advanced countries of the west as well as those in the developing countries in Asia and Africa are clamouring for more freedom from restraints and are demanding a voice in decision-making on the campus. The demand is bolstered with demonstrations, strikes, slogan-shouting and other forms of protest which quite frequently lead to violence. Of course, the immediate provocation can very often be traced to minor causes like disciplinary action regarded as too harsh, restrictions looked upon as unreasonable, unsatisfactory messing or lodging arrangements, a tough question paper, etc. But whatever the genesis of the trouble and howsoever it might have started, it always ends up in demands for a bigger voice in running the affairs of the institution involved.

Some people may be inclined to dismiss such demands as tantrums being thrown up by a generation spoiled by comparatively greater prosperity and permissiveness, and lacking a sense of purpose or direction. They would condemn the acceptance or even consideration of such demands as betraying a weak-kneed and skin-saving attitude on the part of the authorities. They decry protest movements among students as being more critical than constructive. They are not prepared to give student leaders credit for being motivated by any sense of higher purpose. But that amounts to gross over-simplification of a very complex phenomenon. Students are certainly no missionaries in the cause of the reform of education or educational institutions. They may well be charged with being ignorant to what they want. But they are sure about what they do not want. They are being edged on and driven by inexorable compulsions to try to rearrange a system which, with the passage of time, has become obsolete in several important respects. The unrest we see among them and their taking to the streets on the slightest provocation is an expression of impatience regarding blind conformism which has lost its utility in present era.

For long our universities have been looked upon as centres of learning, preparing young people to enter respectable careers. But today they are not able to fulfill even that function. Acquiring a degree is by no means a passport to employment. Universities today are overcrowded places where antiquated curricula provide the basis of instruction. The result is that not more than one in ten out of their products can find a job. In this state of affairs, it is hardly to be wondered if students should be anxious to secure a complete overhaul of the system, revised curricula having more relevance to their actual requirements and a voice in how educational institutions should be administered.

The desire to make sure that education becomes employment-oriented, provides strong motivation for demanding student participation in ordering the affairs of the educational institutions. But there are other inspirations also. Students are anxious to see the university transformed from being an employment agency for the economy to a fountainhead of social reform to fight against the suffocating amount of corruption prevalent in contemporary social and political life. They believe that education should not only prepare students for careers, but also enable them to become a dynamic force on the side of healthy social change. When they demand change, they also want to determine the course of the change. According to Professor Herbert Marcuse, one of the guiding lights of student radicalism today, it is the students who, being the only adults not yet absorbed into the productive spheres, are in a particularly happy position to debate the issues. In the Professor’s opinion, it is they who are in the best position to define the real needs of society. Their demand, for being allowed a bigger say in the administration of educational institutions, springs from a desire to participate in the task of evolving a new social order free from the cant and chicanery they encounter at every step in the world ruled by their elders. As such, the demand must be accepted as genuine.

Above all, students want to be treated as individuals in their own right, and not as mere cogs in the giant wheel of society. They are no longer prepared to accept guidance and direction from the old as a matter of course. They are in no mood to be told what is good and what is bad for them. They want to be allowed to find out for themselves. Once we come to recognize the genuineness of this demand and sympathize with it, it would not be difficult to see that there is a genuine need for student participation in the administration of educational institutions. They expect more off their alma-maters than mere book-learning. It is all for the better because they will need more assets qualities besides bookish knowledge to hold their own in the complex world awaiting them outside the portals of their college and universities. The Duke of Wellington once remarked, “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playgrounds of Eton.” Today there are even bigger challenges awaiting the young as they step on to the centre stage. If they are allowed to participate in administering their colleges and universities, and in sharing the responsibility of making the same really useful, they will benefit from the experiences which will surely leave them better equipped to face the challenges of future life.

By now the idea has been given a trial, not only in a number of universities in America and Europe, but also in Asia. Students have been allowed a hand in managing their hostels, their co-operation has been enlisted in maintaining discipline and they have even been consulted while drawing up courses of study. Administrators who have experimented on these lines have almost without exception found the results gratifying. It has not only reduced protests and demonstrations, but also has led to a general toning up to the campus atmosphere.

When students have been treated with respect, they have lived up to it and displayed a strong sense of responsibility. Grant of permission to voice their opinions has ‘served to take the element of violence out of their marches and demonstrations. On being recognized as individuals, they have displayed a readiness to work for change within the existing system rather than by dropping out of it.

All this goes to show that students are ready to cooperate provided those in authority have the vision and the courage to solicit their cooperation. There are several minor and major areas in the administration of educational institutions in which students can render useful service and at the same time imbibe qualities which are bound to prove useful later. For example, they can help in the administration-of student welfare funds, they can be allowed to manage the hostels, they can look after a great deal of work in the sphere of sports, they can be of immense help in maintaining discipline, they can be given charge of most of the extra-curricular activities, etc. Among the other major tasks in which their help can be sought are planning courses of study, provision of vocational guidance, conduct of examinations, etc.

To a certain extent, student participation in the administration of educational institutions, can, no doubt, prove beneficial. But, as they say, too much of anything, whether good or bad, is bad. There is a limit beyond which such participation is bound to prove counter-productive. A university may well be described as a microcosm of society, but it is certainly not a democracy where everything must be decided by votes. Any attempt to cast it into that will lead only to chaos and anarchy. In American Universities, students have often put forward demands to be allowed to choose their teachers. At some places, the demand has even been accepted to a certain extent. But the results have not been uniformly happy. When students have been allowed to dictate the hiring and firing of teachers, they have shown a preference for those who are sympathetic to the claim of student power, those who are ready to grant them long periods off and to extend deadlines for tests. As a result, the students have allowed themselves to fall into echo chambers and the quality of education has inevitably deteriorated.

Such situations are bound to develop if student participation is allowed to assume the proportions of student control. Students have to be given due recognition and encouragement to get involved in realizing their desire to see educational institutions playing a more active role. Their demand for rethinking on the relevance of education is genuine and they must be associated with that rethinking. But they must not be allowed to misuse the democratic process. They must be brought round to accept reasoned dissent which seeks to persuade, rather than raw intolerance, which thinks nothing of interfering with the rights of others, and does not rule out fascist methods. The elders on their part have to learn that student participation, rather than being an affront to their good sense, can be a powerful new ally in evolving a philosophy adequate for the challenging times ahead. They must anticipate and initiate the needed change before it is wrested out of their hands.

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