Bengal VCs not included in UGC panel, says education minister Bratya Basu

Bengal: Education minister deems governor-appointed VCs as illegal entrants

November 6, 2023

West Bengal’s Education Minister, Bratya Basu, criticized the acting vice-chancellors appointed by Governor CV Ananda Bose without involving the state government as ‘illegal entrants.’ Basu highlighted the importance of selecting VCs through discussions between the governor and the higher education department. He cited a Supreme Court ruling, labeling interim VC appointments by the governor without state consultation as illegal.

At a symposium organized by the higher education department in collaboration with CII, the minister emphasized that only academics appointed lawfully were invited. He firmly stated that there’s no place for unlawful appointees.

Governor Bose, serving as the ex-officio chancellor of state-run universities, has installed acting vice-chancellors in 16 universities, while several others still lack appointments for this position.

Regarding the acting Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Buddhadeb Sau, convening an Executive Council meeting without prior consultation, Basu disapproved. He suggested that if the government was not informed about the meeting, it would be brought to the Supreme Court’s attention.

The Supreme Court had recently halted the salaries of newly appointed interim VCs in West Bengal and proposed setting up a search committee for selecting VCs.

In response to a theater group’s allegations about last-minute cancellations of an auditorium booking due to an “anti-government” play, the minister assured that theater will persist and move forward, but he would investigate the cancellation before making further comments.

The symposium saw the signing of several MoUs, including one between Thunderbird School of Management, Arizona State University, and the Department of Higher Education. This partnership aims to provide educational resources, courses, and programs to West Bengal’s students, irrespective of their location or financial background. Additional agreements were made to support courses in ‘Data Analytics & Digital Transformation’ and to enhance skills through training programs in emerging technologies for higher education institutions in West Bengal. MoUs were also signed between universities in Bangladesh and Kolkata, and between Kathmandu University, Nepal, and ADAMAS University, Kolkata.

Also read: SC urges Bengal government, governor to resolve VC appointment deadlock; minister welcomes order

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