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10yr rule relaxed for VC post

The Trinamul government has relaxed the criterion for appointment of vice-chancellors in state-aided universities.

Instead of at least 10 years’ experience as professor, as suggested in the ordinance promulgated in November and passed in the winter session of the Assembly, the amendment would allow candidates with only five years as professor to be selected.

“We have relaxed the condition. Under the new guideline, anyone with 10 years of teaching experience, including five years as professor, can be considered for the post,” said Abhirup Sarkar, the chairman of the expert committee on higher education and the architect of the new ordinance.

Department officials told Metro that the 10-year criterion, part of an act aimed at depoliticising appointments and ensuring selection of academicians of merit, had been borrowed from guidelines for central universities.

The condition was apparently relaxed because of the difficulty in finding adequate candidates who fulfilled it.

Sarkar, however, had a different explanation. “Many teachers became professors during Left rule as a result of party preferences. Now many such candidates are eligible to apply. But the question is whether they are really eligible.”

He also argued that 10 years’ experience as professor does not necessarily make a candidate suitable for the post of VC.

“Take the case of Chinmay Guha, the new VC of Rabindra Bharati University. Though he has only seven years’ experience as professor in CU, he is an outstanding scholar, knighted by the French government.”

The post of VC will soon fall vacant in Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, West Bengal State University, West Bengal University of Technology and North Bengal University.

Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association general secretary Partha Pratim Biswas refuted the charge that the Left had indulged in malpractice in appointing professors.

“People with five years’ experience as professors were also appointed during the Left tenure. Then the government should have a problem with them also.”

He alleged that the new government wanted to pick Trinamul favourites as VC. “Since many such candidates do not have 10 years’ experience as professor, the government has diluted the provision.”