Higher education reforms panel moots separate Chancellors for each university – The Hindu

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August 08, 2022 08:03 pm | Updated 08:12 pm IST – THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Lending a new dimension to the raging debate on the role of the Chancellor, the Commission for Reforms in Higher Education has recommended separate Chancellors for each university.
Mooting fundamental changes in university governance, the commission, chaired by former Vice Chancellor of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University Delhi Shyam B. Menon, has also advocated trimming the Syndicates in terms of composition and responsibilities. Replacing the existing Senates with a sleeker ‘Board of Regents’ that elects the Chancellor from among themselves also figured among the proposals.
The commission, which delved deep into the state of affairs of the higher education sector, felt the need to sequester the internal governance of universities from the administrative control of the State government. It, however, advised retaining the latter in the ‘driver’s seat’ to extend resource support and create an enabling legislative, policy and administrative environment for universities.
The panel recommended making the Chief Minister and the Higher Education Minister the ‘Visitor’ of all public universities, and deemed-to-be and private universities respectively.
The Vice Chancellor, it is recommended, must be a distinguished academic with a minimum of 10 years of experience as professor in a university or reputed research organisation and shall not exceed 65 years of age. The search-cum-selection committee shall comprise a nominee each of the Visitor, Board of Regents, and the University Grants Commission.
The committee will recommend a panel of three names with each included through a unanimous decision, failing which it shall be decided through a majority vote. The names, placed in the order of preference, will then be submitted to the Chancellor who will convene a special meeting of the Board of Regents to appoint the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor could be considered for a second term that should end when he/she attains 70 years of age.
Suggesting a membership limit of 15 to be applied for Syndicates, the commission has advised that the paramount policy-making authority of universities should be left to consider proposals on administrative policies and the annual audited accounts and budgets. All academic policy matters must be brought only to the consideration of the Academic Council unless they have major financial implications.
It also endorsed upgrading ‘self-sustaining institutions’ as private universities. Viewing the establishment of private universities as a better alternative to deemed-to-be universities, the panel has recommended the enactment of a Kerala State Private Universities Act.
In a bid to root out unfair practices in the recruitment of teachers, the commission also proposed a comprehensive law and recommended that all faculty appointments in government-aided institutions be handed over to a Higher Education Faculty Recruitment Board.
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