The University Grants Commission (UGC) has appointed the vice-chancellor of the Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ) Ranchi, Kshiti Bhusan Das, as the chairman of a standing committee to strengthen the quality of higher education and bring transparency in the recruitment process.
“The committee comprises a nine-member academician from different parts of the country,” said a communique issued by the CUJ on Thursday afternoon.
Prior to joining CUJ as vice-chancellor in 2021, Das was the vice-chancellor of Central University of Odisha, Koraput, and had also served as pro-vice-chancellor in Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) New Delhi, and has nearly four decades of teaching experience. He is at present a national fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science and Research and chairman of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)-eastern panel.
The UGC decided to set up a committee that will periodically assess faculty appointments and the awarding of PhDs at higher education institutions (HEIs), in a bid to check the violation of regulations at its 568th meeting on April 24. It was noted in the meeting that there have been instances of appointment norms being violated over the years, with regulatory bodies receiving several complaints.
For instance, in April, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) — the apex advisory body for technical education in India — reportedly issued a notice to all technical educational institutions in Tamil Nadu to strictly follow the reservation norms in faculty appointments. This came after the National Commission for Backward Classes sought a detailed report from all technical HEIs, according to media reports.
As of now, faculty appointments at HEIs and the awarding of PhDs are governed by two sets of regulations: the UGC Regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, 2018; and the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022.
The committee would meet at regular intervals, select a few institutions and collect information regarding faculty appointments and the award of PhD degrees.