Sunday, May 19, 2024

Union to appoint heads of five private deemed-to-be-varsities including TISS, students allege “Modi govt’s political move”

A image of a building from TISS, deemed University
Virani q via Wikimedia Commons

By giving power to itself, the Union government can now appoint higher officials and functionaries in the five deemed universities of India that were earlier being managed privately, claiming that these ‘institutions have been receiving a good amount of funds from the government but failed to respond to the queries raised by the Centre’.

The chancellors in the five deemed Universities which includes Tata Institutes of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra; Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad; Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, Coimbatore; and the Gurukula Kangri, Haridwar will now be appointed by the education ministry.

The move will empower the Ministry of Education at the Union to amend the bylaws, make appointments, and intervene in matters that concern the functioning of these deemed institutions.

Earlier the appointments of higher functionaries including chancellors and vice-chancellors were made by the trusts and societies which sponsor them.

On 2 June, 2023, the University Grants Commission issued a regulation “the University Grants Commission (Institutions deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2023” which stated that ‘officers of an institution deemed to be University will be appointed by the government”.

The notification highlighted, “Provided that the Chancellor in the institutions deemed to be Universities managed or controlled or receiving funds more than or equal to fifty percent of their annual receipt from the Central or State Government or its Agencies, shall be appointed by the respective Government and for other institutions deemed to be Universities, the Chancellor shall be appointed by the sponsoring body.”

The regulations issued by UGC also stated that VC serves as the primary administrative leader of a university and holds the duty to execute the directives issued by the UGC (University Grants Commission), the government will establish an investigation and take appropriate action in case of any misconduct or impropriety on the part of a VC.

As for appointing the Vice-Chancellor who shall be a whole-time salaried officer of the institution deemed to be University will be appointed by the Chancellor from a panel of three names suggested by a Search-cum-Selection Committee.

The search-cum-selection committee will also have a nominee of the chairman of the UGC, a nominee of the Chancellor, who shall be a reputed academician as the Chairperson of the Committee and an academician holding at least ten years of experience as a professor, a nominee of the Executive Council.

A UGC official said that the move come because these institutions were receiving a lot of funds from the government but couldn’t fix the accountability when it comes to financial matters and the VC appointed by the Centre will be accountable to the government.

An administrative official at one of these five deemed universities told Maktoob that all he wants is to preserve the nature of culture and tradition carried by the varsity and has no issues with regulations.

He said, “Our university and its research is focused on Hindu culture and Hindu traditions as it was established by the Arya Samaj, as long as the government can safeguard the very core mission of the institution, we don’t have any issue with the new regulations.”

“We have communicated about the same to the UGC and are hopeful that it will be considered before they appoint any new official”, he added.

However, students view this move of the Union government to assume a monopoly over the institutions and its regulations.

A Student leader at TISS, who didn’t wish to be named said, “Sudden changes in the policies are made deliberately by the state so that they can fit in their jugglers and puppets in place and to be sure that they can dance to their tunes”.

She said, “The manifestation of introduction and interference of politics into educational institutions is clearly a disaster no one is prepared for and certainly the outcome of this forced involvement of politics in education is not going to be good.”

Last week, in another regulation, the UGC dropped the requirement of a doctoral degree to apply for the post of assistant professor at any central university, making ‘NET/SET/SLET a minimum criterion for the recruitment to the said post for all higher education institutions.

Professor Apoorvanand, a faculty of Hindi at Delhi University pointed out that a pattern is being adopted by the Union to ‘bury the very idea of excellence’ whether it is an appointment of the teachers, principals, or the vice-chancellors at the universities.

In an opinion, he wrote, “One must remember that vice-chancellors and principals are also being selected on this basis”, which he describes as “Excellence is now a criterion for disqualification.”


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