Calcutta, Feb. 23: Under pressure from Murli Manohar Joshi’s human resource development ministry, Calcutta University today ticked off two colleges for crossing the Lakshman rekha and seeking Delhi’s help to become autonomous.
Members of the university’s syndicate, its highest policy-making body dominated by representatives from pro-CPM lobbies, came down heavily on St Xavier’s College and Ashutosh College for directly approaching the University Grants Commission (UGC) seeking autonomy.
The two colleges, and another from Midnapore, have been lobbying the UGC for permission to become independent.
The senate not only opposed the UGC’s insistence that they grant autonomy to the three undergraduate colleges immediately, but also unanimously disapproved a prompt decision on granting autonomy to any of its 200-odd affiliated colleges.
The members urged the varsity not to take a final stand till the UGC “rectified” some of the terms and conditions laid down by it for granting the status to institutions.
After receiving the applications from St Xavier’s, Ashutosh and the Midnapore college, the UGC had written to the government last week saying it would have to give a clear-cut opinion on the autonomy of undergraduate colleges at a meeting in Delhi on February 26.
Today’s syndicate meeting was held at the insistence of the government, which wanted the varsity to examine the issue.
“We are not opposed to the UGC’s proposal on granting autonomy to undergraduate colleges. But the members of the syndicate today unanimously resented the manner in which the UGC set the February 26 deadline all of a sudden. The members were also unhappy with the two colleges (Ashutosh and St Xavier’s) for bypassing the university, despite being our affiliates, and approaching Delhi,” Suranjan Das, the pro-vice chancellor, academic affairs, said after the meeting.
As directed by the UGC, a university representative will attend the February 26 meeting in Delhi, said Das. “But we will tell them that we will give our opinion on the issue only after they (the UGC) clarify some of our queries regarding the powers which the colleges will enjoy after they are given the autonomous status,” Das said.
The conditions laid down by the UGC, he added, say once the colleges are granted autonomy, they will be able to award degrees to students jointly with the varsity. For example, the certificate awarded to a student who passes out from St Xavier’s will bear the names of the institution as well as Calcutta University.
Once the colleges are autonomous, the university will have no control on the syllabi followed or the courses taught.
The varsity wants a rectification of this clause. “We must have a say in the academic affairs of the autonomous colleges because we will have our name tagged in the certificates awarded to the students, ” Das said.