Vice Chancellor appointment dispute and solution –


of VCs Situations of dispute and tension have arisen between the state government and the governors in Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal regarding the selection and appointment. Earlier in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh too, disagreements between the governor and the state government on the appointment of vice-chancellors had become a matter of discussion. Such controversies are unnecessary, but due to these, the faith and devotion of the common man towards the system weakens. Conscience says that such a system should be made so that such controversial situations do not arise in future.

There are about 1057 universities in the country, out of which 126 are deemed universities, 456 established by the state government, 54 run by the central government, 421 self-sustained universities in the private sector. The academic and administrative leadership of every university rests with the Vice-Chancellor. The first level team of Vice Chancellor consists of Dean-Academics, Registrar, Controller of Education and Finance Officer. Considering the university as 1/4 of the total family and 1/2, its head is called the Chancellor. The Chancellor of all Central Universities is the Honorable President of India. The Chancellor of the State Universities is the Governor of that State. As an exception, there are some universities which run with a mixed composition of the Center and the State, such as Punjab University, Chandigarh, which used to run with the financial assistance of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and all three states had a role in policy making. The Vice President of the country is the Chancellor. Whether it is a Central University or in all the states, there is a provision for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor by the Chancellor. In some states, there is no provision for the contribution or consultation of the state government in the process of selection and appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, but in most of the states there is such a system that the Vice-Chancellor i.e. the President or the Governor appoints the Vice-Chancellor on the advice of the State Government. The prevailing system is that a search committee or selection committee of three or five members is formed, consisting of a representative of the Governor, a representative of the State Government and a nominee of the University. In the past, this committee sends the names of any three or five persons to the Governor either through the State Government or directly for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor. These names are given alphabetically and not first, second etc. as per the recommendation of the committee. The Chancellor appoints any one according to his discretion from the names given by the committee. Appointed in some state governments by Rajya Bhavan, in some by the higher education department of the state government. Almost a similar process takes place in central universities. A selection committee is formed, it sends some names to the Ministry of Education, out of which the President nominates one to become the Vice-Chancellor. The appointment is made by the Ministry of Education. Until a few years ago, the selection committee itself used to discuss and recommend qualified scholars, but at present, the post of Vice-Chancellor is advertised in all Central Universities and in most of the State Universities and the selection is done from the applications received. The applicants may also be called for interview or talk by the selection committee. The Chancellor means the President and the Governor have the power to reject the persons suggested by the committee and order new names. The Chancellor can call the suggested persons and take a decision on the basis of conversation. At present there are two forms of dispute. The first is that the appointments of the Vice-Chancellors were made without the knowledge of the Chancellor. The second controversy is regarding the mandatory qualification of the Vice-Chancellor.

According to the recommendation of the University Grants Commission, it is mandatory for the Vice-Chancellor to have at least ten years of teaching experience on the post of Professor. It is mandatory for a scientist to have ten years of experience on a post equivalent to that of a professor. The bone of contention is the State Universities Act. Each university has its own act which is passed and amended by the state assembly. In many universities, the essential qualification of the Vice-Chancellor is not fully defined. Ten years mandatory for the post of Professor is not there in the Act. But it is also necessary for the state governments or universities to follow the recommendations of the University Grants Commission. The recognition given by the University Grants Commission and the grants given from time to time have a condition that the recommendations of the University Grants Commission will have to be followed completely by the university. In this regard, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also given a decision that the Governor, the State Government and the University are bound to follow the rules of the University Grants Commission for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor. When there is a dispute between the governor and the government on the appointment of a vice-chancellor, there is a lot of uproar in the education world and there is a situation of serious uncertainty in the concerned university and its related colleges and ultimately the student is at a loss.

Another issue needs attention. The Universities Acts were made long back. The Acts of new universities are also made by making slight changes in the old Acts. Higher education has expanded in the last two decades, but its form has also changed completely. There has been a change in the subjects of learning, methods of teaching, technology and the trends of the students of higher education and the outlook of life. Today’s university needs a different kind of educational leadership to prepare future administrators, policy makers, scientists, industrialists and businessmen. It is not enough for the Vice-Chancellor of a University to be merely an able scholar or scientist. For successful academic leadership, the vice-chancellor needs to be a visionary as well as a financial manager and administrative efficiency.

It is also necessary for him to have practical knowledge of new technology, especially information technology. Before the controversy over the appointment of vice-chancellors reaches to other provinces or central universities as well, there should be consultation-based decisions regarding the essential qualifications of vice-chancellors keeping in mind the present and future roles. The implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 is also possible only when the educational leadership is fully capable, efficient and dedicated to change. The number of such students in higher education in the country is increasing rapidly who decide to pursue education in private universities. At present, about 23 percent of the total students of colleges and universities are in private colleges and universities.

It is estimated that by 2030 this number will increase to 45-50 percent. That’s why it is also necessary that advance discussion should be held regarding the academic leadership of private universities. The private universities act of each province is different. Most of the Vice Chancellor’s qualifications are fixed but the Chancellor can be anyone. If a large part of our youth will do teaching-training in the private sector, then it becomes the responsibility of the Central and State Governments to decide the minimum qualification of Vice Chancellors, Chancellors and Registrars of private sector universities, which should be applicable in the whole country. Union Ministry of Education is conscious in this direction but any kind of delay will be harmful for the future of the youth.
The author is former chairman of the Haryana State Council of Higher Education.
Pro. Brijkishore Kuthiala

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