Hello Professor, What would be the social loss if you are thrown out of your job?

Economics in action

Let us assume that the director of a publicly funded educational institute in India gets this letter from the ministry of higher education. It asks the director: `what would be the social loss if your institute is closed down?’. The Director can answer this question by asking each professors the question that is mentioned in the title. (Let me assure you that this is not a purely imaginary or hypothetical situation).

Needless to mention that such a question would create tremors in Indian academia. They would argue that it is unintellectual to ask such a question. Professors are already agitated by the planned takeover of the funding of higher education by the ministry from UGC – a somewhat autonomous body. One academic has noted that senior government (IAS) officials have had most of their education in coaching centers (and not in liberal academia) and that could be a reason for…

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