Monday, August 4, 2014

Enforceable Rules and Courage to Enforce them

The faculty members spent a week for a retreat in last week of June.

We discussed various aspects of the Institute's function. In particular, we discussed regarding the academic regulations for the B.Tech. programme.

The view was that we should have a rigorous regulations. I always asked the following questions
  • Is the rule enforceable. It is a very fundamental questions. We translate a principle into a rule. We may agree with the principle. However, when we try to enforce it, we encounter difficulties in the form of a. too much administrative work, b. difficult to measure the act or c. unfair consequences.
  • Does the rule work fine in the boundary conditions. This is the programmer in me asking the question: have we exhausted all the possibilities in a if-then-else statement. Often the rules we make fail in the boundary conditions.
  • Is the rule fair to the people on whom it is being applied.
These questions often result near perfection and refinement of the rules.

The people who violate the rules often think that the authorities will not have the courage to implement for emotional, humanitarian and other such reasons.
Among many decision taken in the Institute the most difficult ones were to detain some students for a year, asking some students to leave the hostel and non renewal of contract of some staff members. These were emotionally tough decisions to make but necessary to bring some discipline and sanity into the Institute's functioning. I hope we will never have take such decisions but if the situation demands we should not shirk our responsibility to take the decision.