A video has been posted on the Chennaites Facebook page of RJ Balaji’s speech at a TCS event on campus recruitments. In the video, Balaji urges corporate firms to go beyond pass percentages and exam results when choosing colleges for campus recruitments.
He argues that companies should give due recognition to colleges that care about the emotional and social well-being of their students, and shun colleges that sacrifice these priorities for pass percentages.
The video has gone viral, and has been viewed over 1,80,000 times and shared over 4,200 times by Sunday afternoon.
This is a translation of what Balaji says in his primarily Tamil speech:
"A first year student committed suicide recently. On the reasons for it, the newspapers have reported one thing, but students are saying other things on the internet.
I have one request to TCS, and all TCS HR employees, when you go for campus recruitments, do not only check if colleges have 100 per cent results. Please also see if they are good colleges, if students are happy in these colleges.
This situation cannot be solved by parents themselves. If the college has 100 per cent pass results and 100 per cent placements every year, that is where parents will enroll their children because they are worried about their children’s futures.
When we come with the worry that if we send our children to other colleges, they may not get good jobs, no matter how many complaints exist against a college, that is where we will go. But if companies like TCS and Infosys do not go to these colleges for campus recruitments for a year or two, then parents also would naturally start shunning those colleges.
There is a great responsibility on you too. Please take up the responsibility. If a college does not treat its students well, if there are human rights violations, it’s a kind request from me… If you can, you should take up these issues at forums like NASSCOM.
What is the logic of running co-education colleges in which boys and girls are not allowed to interact with each other? There is no reason for that. If a student who has studied in such an atmosphere comes to your office, even you can’t predict how he will he behave with women employees there.
I don’t know how to handle this problem since students who are currently enrolled in these colleges would be affected if campus recruitments are just stopped. But you are all highly educated, have long experience with the situation... but I would request all HR persons going for campus recruitments to please have careful criteria that give importance to students over and above exam percentages.”
Although Balaji does not name any specific colleges in his speech, it comes barely two days after Abinath, a first-year student of Sairam Engineering College, was found dead in a well on the college campus. Although the college authorities claimed he committed suicide because he was unhappy about studying engineering, protesting students have claimed that his suicide is the result of his treatment by the authorities.
Sairam College was also in the news last year when students protested against regressive rules enforced by the college, reportedly including heavy fines for such acts as having a French beard, distributing sweets in a classroom, playing with a ball inside a room, and so on. A list of regulations for girls went viral on the internet, although authorities denied they had issued the purported circular.
Importantly, Sairam College is not an outlier in these matters, as numerous colleges in Tamil Nadu enforce strict rules to ensure what they feel is a disciplined, efficient and productive education.