Campus Democracy is an enlivening concept which empowers the youth in contributing to the society. It acts as a precursor for change in the socio-political system of the country, through the active involvement of youth in the democratic process. Student politics has been instrumental in molding the future politicians of the country. There is an emergent need to provide a platform for voicing the concerns of the youth. It is the duty of the state, the government, the Universities/Colleges and all stake holders concerned to realize the need for Campus Democracy.
There is lot to be done to give more youthful voice to the political system of the country. Currently out of 543 elected members there are 30 MPs below the age of 35 and another 30 MPs between the age of 36 and 39. The need of the hour is to have more representation of the youth who constitutes nearly One third of the population in policymaking. Campus Democracy contributes to this cause by molding an active citizenry participating in the growth of a successful democracy. This phenomenon is further advocated in educational institutions through campus election and campus politics.
It is been almost four years since the Supreme Court gave the direction to implement Lyngdoh committee recommendation. There is no study to assess the recommendation and its implementation. There is still a lot of groundwork to be done in fully implementing the Committee guidelines. This study is a revisit to the campuses; post the Lyngdoh committee recommendation to observe the dynamics of student politics across the county in the context of the emerging trend of mainstream politics. The study takes into regard the various dimensions of the concept of Campus Democracy by dissecting and analyzing the opinions of students, student leaders, student organizations, faculty, management and other stakeholders.
The study had the following representation of colleges, category (stream) wise of Arts, Science and Commerce, Law, Management, Engineering and Medical. It also took into attention the category (type) wise analysis ie. Private, Aided, Government and Central Universities. While studying the student participation in campus politics, Majority of the private colleges, mostly with professional courses are not encouraging campus election.
The key issues which are affecting Campus Democracy are:
• Academic constrains
• Lack of interest
• Restrictions to students activity in the campus
• Lack of a platform for developing awareness on Campus Democracy
• Parental pressure
• Lack of management support
Academic constrains have often imposed limitations on students to devote time in political activity. Study shows that number of students who supports student election is around 73 percent. This fact shows that there is a general consensus among the students to have a system of student representation based on a democratic process of election. When it comes to management support majority of the faculty are of the opinion that student politics dilute the spirit of academic. They say that it is better kept out of campus, only 24% of the faculty supported for student election.
There is mixed phenomenon of campus election across the country. Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations are not implemented uniformly across the county. Only 39% of the students have heard of Lyngdoh recommendations. It has been predominantly implemented and monitored strictly in states like Orissa and Assam and in major Universities like Hyderabad and Delhi. In other states though it has been implemented it is not practiced stringently. There is a definite influence of the political parties in campuses. Student Organizations like NSUI, SFI & ABVP are active in many colleges and direct funding from the political parties to the candidates during campus elections is not uncommon.
There are instances that the student unions are instrumental in voicing issues of the students. However, the majority of the students are of the opinion that student unions are not the ultimate remedy for their issues with only 6 percent saying that Students Union could solve their issues.
Incidences of violence still occur relating to campus election. 21% of the respondents from the study accept that they have witnessed various forms of campus violence. Sometimes it goes unnoticed as it occurs outside the campus. Though the student leaders show lot of enthusiasm during the college days in politics, only a negligible per cent of them really think that politics could be taken up as a career. Only 25 percent wanted to become a Student leader. There is a considerable drop in the interest of the students on campus politics and views on socio-political issues.
Campus Democracy exists only when the student community is politically aware and contributes effectively and efficiently to the campus. There is an urgent need to educate the present student community of the political system in the country and also about the social issues affecting the larger community. Moreover, this should extend to encouraging them and involving them to be a part of the socio-political system.