|Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education
Relevant to UPSC as it addresses global right-wing challenges to diversity, equity, and inclusion, impacting academia and political discourse.
- On January 2, Claudine Gay, Harvard University’s first African-American President, resigned amid controversy.
- Right-wing activists, including Christopher Rufo and Vivek Ramaswamy, claimed credit for her departure, citing policy disagreements and alleged plagiarism.
- Controversial events leading to her resignation included reluctance to condemn a Hamas attack on Israel and a subsequent confession before Congress.
- Harvard’s commitment to DEI was questioned by conservatives, linking it to affirmative action policies.
- Rise of right-wing populism globally impacting academia, where political allegiance is scrutinized, and potentially threatening academic freedom.
- Threats to DEI values highlighted by the conservative backlash against Claudine Gay.
- Right-wing populism’s structural changes in academia pose a threat worldwide.
- In India, the conservative political class is emboldened by the U.S. events, impacting academic discourse.
- India’s historical commitment to DEI, shaped by the freedom struggle, faces challenges from communal and divisive right-wing politics.
- Right-wing populism’s coercive nature poses a threat to academic freedom and intellectual autonomy.
- Upholding DEI becomes crucial to resist the potential erosion of academic values.
- Private academic institutions and foreign campuses may undermine DEI values.
- Draft regulations in India lack clarity on reservation in admissions and faculty appointments, raising concerns.
- Social conservatives aiming for caste-class exclusivism in academic settings may succeed under right-wing populism.
- Prudent resistance needed against threats to DEI.
- Overemphasis on political correctness may jeopardize liberal values, and academia must safeguard against it.
- Critical scrutiny of leaders’ contributions is vital without devolving into idolization to maintain academic integrity.
- Unscrupulous political correctness poses a greater threat than the strength of right-wing populism to public academic institutions.
- Balancing ideological commitment with the pursuit of truth is crucial for academia’s cognitive contribution.
- Claudine Gay’s resignation becomes a potential gateway for right-wing populists to challenge DEI values.
- Academia faces a delicate balance between political correctness, academic freedom, and resisting external pressures.
|Significance of Academic Freedom & Intellectual Autonomy
|PYQ: Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of Selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2014) (200 words/12.5m)
|Practice Question: How do academic freedom and intellectual autonomy contribute to societal progress? Analyze contemporary challenges and propose solutions. (150 words/10 m)