Sydney Radio inspires initiative at Savitribai Phule Pune University
Students on this programme have raised issues relating to the layout, seating and lighting arrangement in the library, problem related to staying in hostels, distribution of books in the library and issues relating to the admission process.pune Updated: Jan 17, 2018 22:23 IST
The immense popularity of the Maharashtrian community radio at Sydney has inspired Savitribai Phule Pune University’s (SPPU) vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar to create a bond with students through Vidya Vahini, the university’s own community radio.
Every fourth Wednesday of the month, Karmalkar comes on air and takes centre stage on Vidya Vahini.
He launched this initiative on November 1 and at his third recording session recently, tuned in to 20 questions posed by as many students.
The programme ‘vice-chancellor replies to your questions’ (Prashna Tumche, Uttar Kulgurunche) has been gathering momentum over its short run so far. Students on this programme have raised issues relating to the layout, seating and lighting arrangement in the library, problem related to staying in hostels, distribution of books in the library and issues relating to the admission process.
“I thought it was the best opportunity to find out from the students how best I can get related to them; in what way I can help them out, what are their issues, their problems. And that’s how this concept began,” Karmalkar said in an interview to this reporter.
There was some amount of nervousness at the first recording session but as the questions came in and he was able to provide appropriate solutions, he felt comfortable. The vice-chancellor now feels that he can address their problems and also work on their suggestions.
An alumnus of this university and also a former head of the environmental sciences department, Karmalkar first realised the importance of community radios during his stint in Sydney for his PhD research in 1997.
“The entire Maharashtrian community would connect over the radio,” he said, noting that the community radio programming helped bond the Maharashtrian community very well.
Back in Pune, he got a better understanding of the immense potential of community radio while serving as the chairman of the SPPU’s steering committee.
He feels that communicating over the radio could help students understand the value of education. “Many students on campus, generally want everything free of cost, but that should not be the case. If they start expecting everything free without much struggle, then that makes life too easy. Life ahead is always full of struggle and they should look at campus as a training ground. Don’t expect everything for free; the campus of the university is for studying and not for enjoyment,” he said.
Through his radio talk, Karmalkar tries to inculcate in students the importance of values and character and how to face life’s challenges. He cites his own experiences of hostel life and the vast difference in the facilities that were available then and now.
Vidyavani, community radio (107.4) began in SPPU in 2005 for the students and communities nearby with a range of 12km. The shows are mostly informative and creative and student-centric. Several NGOs and communities are participating in running this radio programmes and the students are given a platform to showcase their creativity with an opportunity to read their poetry, short stories and also produce their own shows.