Lack of interest among teachers - both from Panjab University and affiliated colleges - in the functioning of the varsity academic council can be gauged from the proceedings of its annual meeting held on Wednesday. The House took mere 30 minutes to wrap up the agenda comprising 35 items pertaining to proposed changes in syllabi of various courses offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Out of 30 minutes, around five minutes were devoted to the university and national anthems played at the beginning and end of the meeting, respectively, leaving just 25 minutes for discussions. The meeting started at 10:15am and ended at 10:45am.
Further, barring five items, the entire agenda was passed without any deliberations, which saw only a few members participating. Some of the members, who wanted to speak, were reportedly snubbed by vice chancellor RC Sobti.
Dr Gurmeet Singh, who actively participated in the meeting, said, "The academic council is the supreme body and has a lot of potential of uplifting academic standards of the university."
Going by the way in which the academic council has been conducted in the last few years, it is evident that stakeholders are not at all interested in its functioning, said a senior member of the council.
"The academic council has become a joke. Faculty members seem to be more interested in syndicate and senate politics rather than academics, which is actually their job," said the member.
The council is the largest body of the university, but only around 50 members took the trouble to attend the meeting. According to the university calendar, the academic council consists of five senate members, vice chancellor as chairperson; dean, university instructions; a principal of a university evening college on rotation basis; two principals of affiliated colleges of education, who take MEd classes, on rotation basis; deans of faculties of arts, languages, science, business, management and commerce, education and design and fine arts; dean, college development council; 15 teachers from affiliated colleges elected from among themselves; 15 principals of affiliated colleges elected from among themselves, all professors of university and two university lecturers to be nominated by the syndicate by rotation.
Dean, university instructions, (DUI) Bhupinder Singh Brar called for the need to schedule the meeting before the vacations to attract more participation.
Sharing his disappointment over thin attendance in the meeting, Brar said being the highest academic body, all stakeholders should actively take part in the meetings of the council.
In the recent past, there have been instances highlighting the lack of interest on part of different stakeholders in the body.
On January 13, 2012, the university had held elections for the 15 seats each in the college principals and college lecturers constituencies. However, only six principals filed their nomination and were elected unopposed.
The vice chancellor had to nominate nine other candidates to complete the quorum. Out of 188 colleges, more than 20 did not take part in the election process and nearly 150 votes were found invalid from around 2,000 votes received. The university received nomination from 20 college lecturers.
Similarly, in the election held for five seats reserved for senate members, only four senators had filed their nomination, whereas for the board of finance, which has two seats reserved for senators, more than five senators had filed their nomination.