Modern universities around the world have developed not only as centres of knowledge but also as catalysers of social mobility. In a hierarchical and divided society like India, university campuses have been the only spaces where students could find opportunities, and the confidence, to break social barriers.

Today, however, universities in India are facing an unprecedented crisis. They are being forced to rethink and redefine their role and are constantly under the scanner, with governments, political parties and other stakeholders questioning their ways of functioning. Can the utility of an educational institution be quantified? Is its primary task one of nation building or cultivating nationalism of a particular kind? Should  universities only focus on making their students employable  or should they be preparing them  for a future that includes active political engagement with the state and society?

The Idea of a University examines these issues through essays by teachers and academicians located in different academic spaces. They reflect on how a university works, the historical evolution of central and state universities in India, the current state of different higher academic institutions in the country and the many challenges to academic freedom in the past, and now. 

A thought-provoking book that seeks to engage teachers, students and intelligent readers everywhere.

Apoorvanand teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi and is a literary and cultural critic. He was part of the Committee for Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education in India, constituted by the Government of India and chaired by Prof. Yash Pal, in 2009 and 2010. He was also a member of the core group of the National Curriculum Framework for School Education and the National Focus Group on the Teaching of Indian Languages in 2005.

Pub date: Dec 2018 | Imprint: Context | Price: INR 699

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