Panjab University’s (PU) recommendation to confer the title of honorary professor on former education secretary, department of higher education, ministry of human resource development (MHRD), Ashok Thakur is raising eyebrows.
The decision was taken in the syndicate meeting on Sunday where out of a total of 15 members, three members registered their disagreement, one abstained from voting while the rest agreed with the decision.
The PU calendar states that such a title can be conferred on distinguished teacher whereas Ashok Thakur, 1977batch Himachal Pradesh cadre officer, who has a distinguished administrative career, has taught at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie, as its deputy director for only three years.
The regulation 18 of the calendar reads: “In addition to the full-time teachers appointed by the university, the chancellor may, on recommendation of the vice-chancellor and of the syndicate, confer on any distinguished teacher who has rendered eminent services to the cause of education, the designation of honorary professor of the Panjab University who in such capacity will be expected to deliver a few lectures every year to postgraduate classes.”
Dr Navreet, chairperson of department of public administration, had expressed her reservation over recommending Thakur as honorary professor in the meeting of five-member academic and administrative committee held on February 18. Dr Navreet said that it is clearly mentioned in the calendar that any person to be recommended as honorary professor has to be a distinguished teacher.
She had appreciated the administrative career and stature of Thakur, but pointed out that Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration is an administrative training institute for civil servants and not an educational institute. Four other members of the committee had resolved to recommend Thakur’s case to be forwarded as honorary professor.
When contacted, PU vicechancellor prof Arun Grover said that one should not get into technicalities.
“Ashok Thakur has vast experience, which will be beneficial for the university,” Grover said.
Who is Ashok Thakur?
60-year-old Ashok Thakur has worked at all levels of government from sub-divisional magistrate to his last position as education secretary to government of India, MHRD and as deputy director at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie.