IGNOU to shut down ISRO chair

  • Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 30, 2014 01:02 IST

At a time when India is celebrating the success of ISRO and the Mars mission, which is expected to renew the interest of students in satellite communication, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has decided to discontinue the ISRO chair that undertook research in related fields — for lack of funds.

The university has also decided to discontinue other chairs including CV Raman chair for science education, Mother Teresa chair for social work, UNESCO chair in technology and e-governance, Vishveswarya chair for work in education linkages.

The decision is based on the recommendations of the board of management (BoM) which approved the guidelines for establishment of chair. According to the new guidelines, each chair should have a sponsor and no chair should be established with university funds.

“We decided to continue with chairs that are sponsored by an outside agency and did not utilise the funds of the university,” M Aslam, vice-chancellor of IGNOU, told HT.

Aslam said the chairs that have been discontinued were not functioning for a long time for lack of funds. “I cannot be using the fee of my students to sustain a chair,” he added.

While the VC was emphatic that the decision was taken in the interest of the university, there was opposition to it with some of the academic staff calling it unilateral.

“The guidelines for establishment of chair sets rule for setting up new chair, it does not say anything about discontinuing an existing chair,” a university staff said, on condition of anonymity.

The decision comes on the heels of university’s resolution to shut down community colleges, leaving in lurch more than a lakh students undertaking training in fields like hospitality, constructions and automobile.

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