Kolkata: West Bengal government’s fresh notification rejigging the search committees meant for appointment of Vice-Chancellors in state universities has left the academic circles in the state fuming.
The academicians are especially critical about omission for the provision for having a representative from the state university concerned in the panel.
Under the proposed system as per the ordinance, the five-member panel should have one representative nominated by the Chief Minister, one by the state Education Department, one by the state Higher Education Council, one by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and one by the Governor, who by virtue of the post, is also the Chancellor of all state universities.
According to the Calcutta University Teachers’ Association (CUTA) general secretary Sanatan Chattopadhyay, this new system of panel with any representative from the state university concerned is bound to face legal hassles just like the previous system faced since it had no representative from the UGC.
“The UGC proposal speaks in support of the inclusion of a representative from the state university concerned in the search panel. Moreover, this decision for the omission for the provision for having a representative from the state university concerned in the panel is an attack on the autonomy of the universities,” he added.
The Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) general secretary Partha Pratim Roy feels that the formation of the new search committee has been constituted to maintain the numerical supremacy of the state government there so that making politically- motivated decisions easier.
“The proposals of UGC regarding formation of search committees have been totally ignored in this ordinance. We strongly condemn the decision,” he said.
Economist Probir Kumar Mukhopadhyay said that the decision is quite whimsical considering that the state university concerned for which a Vice-Chancellor will be appointed will have no say in the appointment process.
“This is surely done with a political motive and is an attack on the autonomy of the state universities. In the previous system following in the Left Front rule, which was also followed by the current Trinamool Congress regime in the first three years of its tenure since 2011, the state government official had no role in vice chancellor appointment.
“Then the three- member search committees had one representative of the UGC, one from the state university concerned and one nominated by the Governor. I am not against the state government having its own representative in the search committee. But that should not be at the cost of a representative from the state university concerned,” he said.
Santanu Basu, a professor with a college under the University of Calcutta said that UGC’s proposal is also that one acclaimed and independent educationist should be included as a member of the search committee. “The new proposal remains silent on that matter,” he said.
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