Teachers of Bengal’s top universities say appointment of govt nominees assault on autonomy
Teachers of the Universities of Calcutta, Jadavpur, Rabindra Bharati and Kalyani said they saw the order as an assault on the independence and autonomy of universities.Updated: Feb 10, 2020 23:48 IST
Teachers of Bengal’s four top universities on Monday decried a February 4 order of the state government that appointed higher education department officers as the state’s nominees to the highest decision making bodies of all universities and also set some new rules.
In a letter to education minister Partha Chatterjee, teachers of the Universities of Calcutta, Jadavpur, Rabindra Bharati and Kalyani said they saw the order as an assault on the independence and autonomy of universities. While Rabindra Bharati and Jadavpur University are confined to their campuses, around 200 colleges in Kolkata and the districts are affiliated to Calcutta University and Kalyani University.
The order, the teachers’ bodies said specified the names of officers as nominees of the higher education department to the Senate, Court, Syndicate, Executive Council etc of state-aided universities. “The order says that meetings of such bodies should be convened ‘preferably on Saturday’ or ‘preferably towards the end of [the] working day’ if held on a weekday. As it appears, even the minutes of such meetings are to be communicated to the minister-in-charge of higher education before they are circulated,” the teachers said in a statement.
Earlier the government had issued another order directing vice-chancellors of all state universities to inform the department of all meetings of university bodies chaired by them. We are of the firm opinion that such orders are a direct assault on the independent functioning and autonomy of our universities, not only interfering in their administrative and academic work but also dictating minor details that are best left for institutions to decide for themselves. These orders also demean the chairs of the Vice Chancellors,” the teachers said.
Indirectly referring to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her party’s strong criticism of the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia University, the teachers said that they are pained to see a government that “claims its allegiance to the democratic polity” should be taking steps “that echo those of their bitter opponents in our country’s capital.”
Despite repeated efforts HT could not contact education minister Partha Chatterjee.