Having been a student there at CEG for four years, I wasn’t really surprised about this. While awaiting how this plays out, I wish to take your attention to what I feel are the root causes for such cases. (While the onus is on the individuals to not commit fraud , the system might provide some favorable conditions, which I feel, is the case)
There are some really good researchers there at AU and I don’t really have anything concrete to say on this. You know, you usually get the feeling and all feelings need not be wrong. Somehow, AU comes across a haphazard environment to do research. While the following assessment is subjective, it cannot be that wrong and ought to be right at some levels atleast. 🙂
Anna University is a dying university thrust with the administrative responsibility of the other engineering colleges in the state. Research has taken a backseat due to a number of factors and its more a teaching university. Sometimes, I think they fall woefully short even in that area. Many of the faculty are disgruntled about the administration. (political affiliations, lack of freedom, redtape) The younger faculty are short on mentorship and are struggling to build themselves. They are under a pressure to perform but don’t get the necessary guidance. The university is also not attracting the right talent to keep research going. They get a good set of hardworking undergraduates (Anomalies like me tend to creep in quite often too) but they don’t get the same level of postgraduates with the right motivation/passion for research. (Same can be said about the IITs to some extent but the scales are different here)
One of the things that I have seen that keeps research going in an university like this, is the returning people. People who finished their degrees here, going onto study at a better place and coming back with their experience. (I have known IIT-M’s quality of postgraduate output to be going up steadily in certain areas because of this) I haven’t known that to happen in recent years in CEG. On top of that, enrolment has increased, a number of faculty have gone out causing a drop in overall quality.
Personally, the function at large of AU has just been to send in large volumes of decent quality programmer analysts to companies like CTS, Infosys and TCS. (I was one of them) No denying that there have been a fair amount of really deserving and different candidates but I wouldn’t think the university had much to do with that except for the name that Anna had built for itself. Afterall, it gets the cream of the state in terms of some measure of hardwork. Whatever, atleast you would expect a few to glitter statistically with their individual passions, search for purpose and hardwork.
As for this plagiarism issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a kind of a Pandora’s box, if more issues come out. I just hope that Hope is also let out this time. Hope, that will revamp the current administration with its political affiliations, trying to teach outdated morals, rather than the latest in Engineering. Hope, that will produce a world class research centre. I wish.
PS: I wish to say ‘Caveat Lector’ again. I didn’t do Science there at AU nor do I know any specific cases of plagiarism while I was there. I just want to bring up a few issues at this opportune(!) moment. 😉