Published: 27th March 2018
Central University of Kerala asks students to use social media skills to counter canard
According to official, the idea is no to whitewash the wrongs of the administration but to use the students to counter the bad press
In a first in the state, the Central University of Kerala is planning to set up a cyber team of 10 students to counter ‘canards’ against it on social media. The proposal comes against the backdrop of frequent student agitations on the campus.
In a meeting of the Executive Council — the highest decision-making body of the university — vice-chancellor G Gopa Kumar proposed to revive a defunct ‘earn while you learn’ scholarship to boost its image on social media.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the university’s media relations officer will head the team of 10 selected students, and they will be paid a scholarship of Rs 1,500 per month for one year. “Work will be assigned to the selected candidates and the authority will monitor the same,” it said. The executive council approved the vice-chancellor’s proposal and resolved to submit the proposal to UGC for approval.
Among other things, the scheme, according to the minutes, intends “using the talents of the students to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to counter the hype and canard against the university”. Gopa Kumar did not respond to calls made to his mobile phone. Registrar A Radhakrishnan Nair, who is the secretary of the Executive Council, said, “There are lots of negative reports against the varsity on social and mainstream media. These students can counter them by highlighting the positive side of the university.” He said the scheme’s objective was to help poor students earn some money.
The Executive Council was told the scheme was first launched in 2013 and stopped when the then media relations officer was sent back to his parent university. However, the then vice-chancellor Jancy James said the scheme was never intended for “setting up a cyber... or technical team”. “The primary motive of the scheme was to ensure the complete involvement of the students in the building of the university. As part of that, we introduced the scholarship which will keep them motivated,” she told Express. The students had a say in every decision taken to develop the university, she said.
The officer, who proposed the scheme in 2013 said as per it, one student from each department was selected with the mandate to report the happenings in his/her department and make the fledgeling university visible. “The students worked hard and brought out even the prospectus,” he said. For the last two years, the university didn’t do it.
“The scheme was never conceived to whitewash the wrongs of the administration.” Gopa Kumar retained all the objectives of the previous scheme, but sneaked in a clause to use students to counter the bad press, he said. Students’ Council president Jesudas N, a first-year PG student of Public Health, said the university should have restarted the ‘merit and means scholarship’, which the present administration stopped last year. “It was the same amount of `1,500 per month given to the top five students of all batches,” he said.