The University Grants Commission (UGC), in association with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, has started a weeklong regional workshop-cum-training programme to groom women for senior posts in the education sector.
Around 30 women, currently employed in senior college and university positions, have enrolled for the programme, hosted by Netaji Subhas Open University. While 12 of them are from Calcutta, the others hail from neighbouring states like Bihar, Jharkand and Orissa.
The participants will pick up skills to restore discipline in the workplace, tackle managerial problems, improve the academic atmosphere, maintain a healthy relationship with students, bridge the gap between the teaching and the non-teaching staff, increase efficiency and introduce modern methods of management.
“Our move is aimed at improving the efficiency of female teachers and administrators in higher education, so that they can run the administration smoothly and maintain discipline in the institutions. We have realised from experience that women perform better than men when they are pushed to the fore,” said Surabhi Banerjee, vice-chancellor of Netaji Subhas Open University and member of the National Committee on Women Managers in Higher Education.
“Women’s representation in this sector is very poor. Out of 14 universities in West Bengal, only two — Netaji Subhas Open University and Rabindra Bharati University — have women vice-chancellors. Besides, the representation in other senior ranks in the universities is also negligible. Does it mean that women have no qualification or efficiency to hold senior posts in higher educational institutions' I do not think so. To bring women to the fore, the policy-makers will have to take effective steps,” the vice-chancellor asserted.
A report on the outcome of the UGC-conducted workshop, along with observations and recommendations of the organisers, would be handed over to the state government, Banerjee said.
More such workshops would be organised on a regular basis with an increasing number of participants, comprising headmistresses, college principals and departmental heads, she added. Banerjee said the National Committee on Women Managers in Higher Education would raise a demand to induct more women in senior administrative and teaching posts in higher educational institutions.
UGC officials and state higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty stressed the need for women in senior ranks in educational institutions.