Banaras Hindu University: Teachers selected, no one to send letters
The appointments process at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is in limbo because the executive council that takes key administrative decisions has been defunct for about a year with the terms of most members having ended.
BHU is yet to issue appointment letters to dozens of teachers who have been selected through scrutiny and interviews. Nearly 20 per cent faculty posts are vacant at the university.
The BHU executive council has nine members — the vice-chancellor and eight others nominated by the President in his capacity as the Visitor of the university. The members are appointed for three years. Other than the VC, the tenures of all other members, mostly academics from other institutions, ended in June 2021. As a result, the council has not met since.
One of the key responsibilities of the council is to approve the selection of faculty members. The varsity administration is waiting for the council’s go-ahead to issue appointment letters.
“The appointment of faculty members is an important function of the executive council. In the absence of new appointments, the university is continuing with limited strength. This is affecting the quality of education,” said a faculty member who did not wish to be identified.
Viswanath Pandey, former officer on special duty who worked at BHU for over three decades, said the absence of a democratically elected executive council had affected the efficiency of the decision-making process.
He said the composition of BHU’s executive council was unique, with its members appointed by the Visitor on the recommendations of the education ministry. The university has no role in the process, Pandey said. At other central universities, there is representation from the faculty, non-teaching staff and alumni in the executive council, which helps make decision-making robust.
“There is a feudal culture at BHU’s top decision-making body. The executive council meetings are mostly held in Delhi. The members take decisions without direct interactions with teachers, students or staff. This is because the members are largely outsiders. The original practice of appointing executive council members from among BHU teachers, non-teaching staff and alumni was discontinued five decades ago. That needs to be restored as promised by then Union minister M.C. Chagla in the 1960s,” Pandey said.
BHU did not have a regular VC between March 2021 and January 2022, when Prof.
Sudhir K. Jain took charge. But he has been unable to convene executive council meetings because of the lack of members.
The Telegraph sent an email to the education ministry asking about the delay in appointing executive council members but is yet to receive a response.