HT Chandigarh Our Take: Can Panjab University function without a senate?
A crisis seems to be brewing at Panjab University, with the senate polls postponed twice after being scheduled for August 24 and October 15. This is a matter of concern as the university has now been without its supreme governing body since the four year term of the last senate ended on October 31 .
Further delays can make things worse as the term of the university’s top executive body, the syndicate, ends on December 31.
Many former senators have demanded early elections, alleging that postponing the polls is a covert ploy to install a board of governors under the National Education Policy (NEP) comprising only nominated numbers, which they say will “lead to complete alienation of stakeholders from the decision-making processes of the university.”
In a year when the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, hitting education systems especially hard, PU authorities will find it tough taking key decisions on restarting classes and hostels and planning for the next academic year without a senate.
In the recent past, decisions on declaring results, announcing the first ever blended (online/offline) examinations, and the new calendar were taken without any House meeting.
Also, as a stakeholder, the Punjab government has yet to adopt NEP and its consent is required if any board is to be set up, the former senators say.
Worried about the developments, Punjab chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh has recently written to vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the PU chancellor, seeking early elections to the senate.
The CM has said that the delay in polling is causing resentment among various constituents of the institution and urged Naidu to advise PU authorities and the Chandigarh administration to conduct it on time.
“There is a substantial resentment among the teachers, professionals, technical members, graduates of the university and representatives of constituencies for the senate elections. Besides, there are legislators from the Punjab assembly and ex-officio members, such as the chief minister, education minister, and DPI (colleges) of the state, who represent the Government of Punjab,” Capt Amarinder Singh is learnt to have written.
There is no reason now to put off the polls because of Covid-19 as the situation had improved and elections to Parliament, assemblies, and urban and rural local bodies had been held across the nation, the CM’s letter states.
Various issues are pending before the university, and any delay in setting up a governing body can affect the working and hurt the interests of the students.
Does Punjab University need the senate?
Should Punjab University have a board of governors in place of a senate? Send your responses to Chandigarh@hindustantimes by November 20