Nearly a month after the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) had requested the secretary, higher education, Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), to put the senate elections on hold, member of Parliament from Chandigarh, Kirron Kher, recently wrote to the home ministry regarding the senate reforms.
Kher, in the letter, has asked the ministry to look into the reforms/amendments in the working of the Panjab University (PU) senate as suggested by the teachers’ body to assure transparency in the process. “She has forwarded the entire representation received by the PUTA,” confirmed PUTA president professor Akshaya Kumar.
Demanding the PU administration to look into the matter, the PUTA members once again raised the issue of the senate reforms at the executive body meeting held on the campus.
The PUTA president said, “We had already given a detailed representation on the required reforms needed in the senate structure. We are expecting a positive response to it as Kirron Kher has also written to the home ministry.” Professor Kumar had also emphasised that till the reforms were made in the senate structure, the senate elections scheduled for September 25 shall be put on hold.
In December last year, PUTA had highlighted the anomalies in the senate composition and its election process and had given six points as the required reforms. The same representation was also given to Panjab University vice-chancellor AK Grover.
At the executive body meeting, the other issues taken up by the members included career advancement scheme (CAS), promotions as per University Grants Commission (UGC), pending salaries for the childcare leave and increments for PhD scholars that have been hanging fire for over a year now.
In the case of child-care leave, professor Kumar said, “The issue related to the child-care leave has not reached anywhere and the objections raised by the resident audit officers (RAO) continue to derail the leave. At one point the vice-chancellor has sanctioned the child-care leave, while on the other hand, RAO has not released the salaries. Ideally, the leaves should not have been sanctioned at a time when they are having a problem in releasing the salaries.
Meanwhile, to bring reforms in the teachers’ body, a committee of senior teachers, who will have to submit suggestions within a time frame, has been constituted. The suggestions submitted will be further taken up with the general body.