The West Bengal assembly has passed the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011. The bill would result in end of political interference in appointments in educational institutions with government moving away the appointment process of vice-chancellors of universities.
State higher education minister, Bratya Basu said that the amendment is aimed at bringing in transparency in the appointment of VCs and also to free the universities of political interference and to bring excellence in education.
The government turned down the demand of opposition members lead by Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra that the bill be recommended to a select committee for a detailed discussion.
According to the Bill, Vice Chancellors would be now appointed by a three member selection committee which would comprise of nominees of the Chancellor, chairman of UGC and High Court. The bill also details removal procedure of the VCs during their tenure including his political association. The VC, however, will have little role in the pro-VC (academic)’s removal which will rest on the chancellor or the governor.
“We have intentionally not kept any nominee of the government”, Basu told the assembly.
Apart from appointment of VC’s, the bill also makes provisions for 22 ex-officio members for their induction in the university governing bodies. The members include non-teaching staff, too. The lower bodies will accommodate students (both postgraduate and undergraduates) tpp but they have no role to play in the highest decision-making bodies unlike earlier. The bill will be effective in 13 of the state’s 22 universities including Calcutta University, North Bengal University, Burdwan University, Vidyasagar University, Kalyani University, WB State University, Gour Banga University, Jadavpur University, Rabindra Bharati, Netaji Subhas Open University, Bengal Engineering and Science University, and West Bengal University of Techonology. The bill was introduced as the previous Left Front government was often accused of interfering in the filling up of vacancies in educational institutions by opposition parties and academics alike.
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