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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Several teacher associations in Bengal express concern over functioning of higher education institutes

In a bid to safeguard university autonomy, teacher associations in West Bengal demand withdrawal of government advisories and autonomous leadership appointments

PTI Calcutta Published 13.04.24, 05:35 PM
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Representational Image File photo

Twelve college and university teacher associations have expressed concern over the functioning of state-run higher educational institutes in West Bengal and the role of both the state government and governor on the issue.

The 12 associations objected to the 'advisory' sent by the higher education department to keep the department in the loop about every single policy meeting as well as the "unilateral" report card sought by the governor, general secretary of Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) Partha Pratim Roy told PTI on Saturday.

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Apart from JUTA, other teacher associations include CUTA, WBCUTA, RBUTA, BUTA, VUTA, KUTC, WBSUTA, MAKAUTTA, Teachers of Presidency University, Diamond Harbour Women's University.

The teacher bodies said, "For the restoration of academic sanity and democratic environment within campuses against the powers that are trying their best to destroy the same, we will take protest initiatives on April 19 in all colleges and universities of West Bengal." The state government in an advisory earlier this month had made it mandatory for state-aided, state-run universities to intimate the higher education department about any meeting of EC, Senate, Syndicate or Court - all high-level decision-making autonomous bodies of the institutes concerned.

The issue to have permanent VCs in 31 state universities is currently pending before the Supreme Court which had asked the governor, state and UGC to form their own search committees and submit the lists to it.

A higher education official said the concern about the advisory by teacher bodies are unfounded as the government only wanted to be apprised about some of the meetings of the EC, and Court and likewise without influencing their decision and autonomy. This was in consonance with the act passed by the assembly which is awaiting the nod of the chancellor.

"This is for better coordination. And while the college and university teachers are appointed by the government, their salary given by the state, all their academic and professional works are monitored by the concerned institute which enjoys all autonomy in academic and administrative fronts," the official added.

Roy said the modalities of protest will be decided soon..

"We have noticed with grave concern that the higher education department of our state is trying to confiscate whatever little autonomy of higher educational institutes is still left at the moment, via advisory, dated April 1, 2024," the associations said about the role of state government.

About the role of Governor C V Ananda Bose, the statement said "... the chancellor is also issuing unforeseen ‘report cards’, directives etc. unilaterally. He is also appointing and removing vice chancellors (acting) at will, which is equally unacceptable. Both, we believe, are ominous signs for the public-funded higher education system in the state." Describing the action of the two highest authorities of state universities as "undemocratic and irresponsible acts", the teacher bodies demanded "withdrawal of the advisory of the higher education department, as it threatens to stop all normal academic and administrative activities of universities... " They also demanded appointment of full-time Vice-Chancellors and Deans, as per the relevant UGC rules, and arrange for the election of teacher representatives in the statutory bodies of universities, such as the Court, the Executive Council, the Senate and the Syndicate.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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