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System solution with VC hire move

Patna, Jan. 31: The Nitish Kumar government took eight years to set the norms straight for the appointment of vice-chancellors (VCs) and pro-vice-chancellors in Bihar universities.

Yesterday, based on recommendations of a search committee, 10 VCs and nine pro-VCs were appointed at different universities.

Though VCs are usually appointed for three years, many universities have seen more than eight to nine VCs in the past eight years.

According to sources, there was no set mechanism unlike the search committees, triggering confusion between Raj Bhavan and the state government over VCs’ appointments. Thus, many VCs were unable to complete their three-year tenure.

A senior teacher with the Patna University said: “Since K.K. Jha completed his three-year term as VC of Patna University in August 2004, as many as 10 people occupied the VC’s chair but only one person (Shyam Lal) was able to serve his full term.”

Of the 10 persons, some served as VCs of Patna University for a year, others for six months, and a few for less than a month.

Former registrar of Patna University Vibhas Kumar Yadav served as VC of Patna University for just 15 days from August 1 to 16, 2004. Similarly, PU zoology department head M.P. Sinha served as the acting VC for three days until Shyam Lal was appointed as permanent VC on January 25, 2008.

Apart from regular appointment of VCs and pro-VCs, the long pending demand of various teachers’ bodies has been accepted after the appointment of VCs through the search committee.

Sanjay Singh, the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar (Futab) general secretary, said: “It was the long pending demand of various teachers’ bodies to appoint VCs and pro-VCs through a search committee like the way it is done by other state governments.”

He added that since the appointments were done on the basis of search committee report, it is assumed that the entire process was transparent.

The appointment of VCs and pro-VCs through a search committee and having a prior consultation between the government and the chancellor assumes importance because earlier the state has been levelling financial graft charges against VCs and pro-VCs appointed by former Governor Devanand Konwar.

Sources said most of the VCs appointed by Konwar faced charges of financial irregularities. Patna University former VC Shambhu Nath Singh, former VC of Magadh University and BN Mandal University Arun Kumar, Bimal Kumar former VC of Babasaheb Bhim Rao Bihar University, and others faced charges of financial irregularities.

Though there have been talks about transparency in the VC and pro-VC appointments, the big challenge for the post holders will be bringing academic improvement in their respective universities.

A senior teacher of Magadh University said: “Streamlining the academic atmosphere, maintaining law and order at universities, fulfilling the demands of students, teachers and non-teaching employees are some of the challenges the VCs will have to face.”

The teacher’s statement assumes importance as 10 out of six VCs who were appointed on Thursday are from outside Bihar and it will take months to learn the affairs of their respective universities.