Officials seek representation in university senates across Maharashtra
According to a recent government notification, the senate will have a representative from the non-teaching employees, but none of the officers who head departments and cells.mumbai Updated: May 13, 2017 20:35 IST
Officials from Maharashtra's public universities have objected to the state government's decision to exclude them from the senate, the top decision-making body at universities.
According to a recent government notification, the senate will have a representative from the non-teaching employees, but none of the officers who head departments and cells. Maharashtra University Officers' Welfare Association (MUNOWA) has written a letter to the state government, demanding that the officers are included in the senate.
"The senate is a representative body of all stakeholders associated with the university. Among its members are principals, teachers, students and university office-bearers. If the officers are not represented, who will voice our issues?" said Dinesh Kamble, president, MUNOWA.
The notification, which was issued after the state-enacted Maharashtra Public Universities Act 2016, specifies the eligibility criteria for members of various governing bodies of varsities, including the senate, academic council and management council. The act says that the university vice-chancellor should appoint one of the 'non-teaching employees' of the varsity into the senate, but restricted it to Class III and IV employees.
"By limiting the appointment to lower rank employees, the notification has overridden the act, which allows any university employee to be a member of the senate. The purpose of a notification is to clarify a law, not to overrule it," said Kamble.
The Maharashtra Universities Act 1994, which preceded the current act, had specifically excluded university officials including registrars, deputy registrars and assistant registrars, from the list of employees who can be a member of senate. However, this provision was removed in the new act, following demands from officers.
RS Mali, who heads the committee which drafted the rules, defended the decision to restrict senate membership to class III and IV employees.“The assistant registrars and deputy registars get ample opportunities to make their voices heard. They are often invited to senate as special invitees. But the lower rank employees don’t get any of these opportunities,” he said.
Officials object to new qualification criteria for key varsity posts
Officials from the University of Mumbai (MU) and other state varsities have raised objections over new eligibility criteria for two key varsity posts.
The officials have opposed the rules requiring varsity's director for examination and evaluation to have served in examination department for five years and the finance and accounts officer to be a chartered accountant (CA) or cost accountant with five years of experience.
For a long time, the varsity officials have been protesting against stagnated promotions. In a letter to the state government, varsity officials said that the new criteria are unfair as they further diminish their chances of getting promoted to top positions in the varsity.
"Under the new rules, one cannot become the director of examination and evaluation unless he or she has spent five years in the exam department. However, it's not us, but the vice-chancellor, who decides which department we work in," said an official.
He adds that with the CA criterion for finance and accounts officer, the state government has made it virtually impossible for most of the university officials to make it to the office. "We can't be expected to study accountancy at this stage," he said.