Ministry matters

Ministry of Education to explain year-long delay in appointing new VC: JNUTA

Speaking strongly to the Ministry of Education, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Faculty Association (JNUTA) said on Tuesday that the delay in appointing a new Vice Chancellor is hitting academics in one of the leading research universities of India, while other universities completed this process months ago.

Guardian VC M Jagadesh Kumar’s five-year term ended on January 26, 2021, a tenure that has led to a number of controversies, including sedition charges against university students like Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid, the fee hike movement and the ensuing violence attack on university students and professors on January 5, 2020, by members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS.

The Ministry of Education had issued two advertisements on October 24, 2020, and again on October 3, 2021, inviting eligible candidates to fill the vacant position. Still, the JNU Search Cum Selection Committee consisting of National Accreditation Council KK Agarwal and Ashok Gajanan Modak could not decide on the next VC.

In a statement, JNUTA Secretary Moushumi Basu said that “in the university system, the post of Vice Chancellor is important. Yet it has been more than a year now that JNU, one of the country’s leading universities, has been operating without a full-time vice-chancellor. Several other central universities that had a similar vacancy had new appointments. What then explains the delay in the JNU case?

Basu pointed out that Kumar continues to make decisions of academic importance regarding the university even when rules and statutes prohibit any VC guardian from doing so. Kumar was part of the recent academic council meeting where the body gave the go-ahead for the implementation of the Common Central Universities Entrance Test (CUCET) vehemently opposed by teachers and students alleging a push to the proliferation of coaching institutes, which deprives poor students of entering higher education. establishments.

She said: “The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and the provisions of the JNU statutes explicitly prohibit Vice-Chancellors whose term of office has officially ended from making decisions on substantive political matters. Yet decisions important policy-related issues are being imposed by the Acting Vice-Chancellor without any discussion, which have far-reaching consequences for JNU in the long run. On the teaching front, as the university shifted to teaching in line during the pandemic – despite several requests, no financial assistance was provided to professors for the purchase of teaching materials by the university No institutional subscription was provided to faculty for an online platform allowing to easily accommodate larger classes.To top it off, the Caretaker VC paid no heed to requests for review of teaching and learning. line weaving suggested by faculty representatives. No action was taken by him to personally ensure that the faculty were duly rewarded with ned Uninterrupted work leave for the past two years.

The statement added that the ministry should also explain the illegalities committed by Kumar in the appointment of the presidents of the centers and the delay in the appointment of the posts of professors of the reserved categories. “In terms of filling faculty positions, particularly reserved positions, there have been inordinate delays due to the VC’s deliberate misinterpretation of the roster system, to rectify which faculty members have had to move the court. The review exercise of the faculty recruitment roster, as ordered by the Delhi High Court, was then undertaken without even the slightest admission of wrong done earlier by the JNU administration. While the new list still has many limitations that the petitioners have pointed out, the administration has made no attempt to rectify these anomalies.

Pointing to the Delhi High Court, which overruled Kumar’s decision on the appointment of the presidents, the statement maintained: “The Delhi High Court also denounced the illegalities committed by the VC during the selection of the presidents. Yet the VC continues to be shameless in simply ignoring university processes in administrative matters. Its practice of cutting off the microphones of those who raise questions about its modus operandi at meetings of statutory bodies, its deliberate misrepresentation of minutes and minutes, and the last-minute introduction of important matters to the agenda so that they can be dealt with illegally, the orchestrated intimidation of those who show integrity to resist illegalities, is now a well-recognized operating model adopted by the administration headed by him.