It was only recently when we received an event invite for a lecture on the topic “Integrating Innovation in Our Lives” from the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, did we learn Jamia has a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Jamia has had an Entrepreneurship Club for a few years now, but apparently now it also has a center for it.
As much as we are happy to see our university launch clubs and centers on the subject of innovation and entrepreneurship, we feel, based on our experience, the formal culture at Jamia is not at all encouraging or conducive to fostering an attitude for innovation and entrepreneurship. If anything, the culture is discouraging. And all such initiatives on the university’s part come across as hypocritical, as far as we are concerned.
Without blaming anyone in particular, we like to offer our analysis of the problem, as to why the university takes such a discouraging stance when it comes to students-led initiatives at Jamia.
We think the biggest hurdle for students-led initiatives at Jamia is the unwritten policy of requiring students to get a faculty member to take responsibility for their actions. Unless this pre-requisite is fulfilled, Jamia administration will not allow it to happen.
As a consequence, a lot of student-led initiatives remain unrealized. Because, who in their right mind will take responsibility for the actions of the other; especially students who are generally seen as trouble-makers. It takes a lot of trust and confidence in the student(s) for a faculty member to sign that piece of paper where he or she practically agrees to be held accountable by the administration if the students do something damaging and get into trouble.
We think this one single unwritten rule is the biggest factor in discouraging students from taking any innovative or entrepreneurial initiative at Jamia.
We can cite many personal examples to prove our point. But there is one example that we think clearly illustrates it.
We still remember the time a few years ago when Jamia Journal had organized a walk on campus for new students of Jamia. The idea was to take the new students on a guided tour of the campus. We were told we would need permission from the Proctor’s office to conduct such an activity. So we went to the proctor’s office with an application. The proctor’s office asked us where was the signature of the Jamia official taking responsibility for this activity. In response we asked, why do we need some Jamia official to take responsibility of such an activity? We were told point blank: what if an untoward incident were to happen during your activity, we need to know who at Jamia will be held accountable for it.
Eventually, we had to find a professor willing to trust us enough to sign off on it. And it was only then did we get permission. It also bears mentioning here, all along this process, we were told by concerned officials that our initiative was an exercise in futility. Just a waste of everybody’s time. Though we conducted the campus walk then, the whole experience left us so discouraged that we did not repeat it the following year. It was just too much of a hassle.
So that’s our view on the topic of innovation and entrepreneurship at Jamia. We are interested to hear what you have to say on the topic. What is your assessment of the conditions in Jamia? Are they encouraging, discouraging or simply indifferent? Tell us about it in the comments below.