KOCHI: Even as the government is trying hard to raise the education sector in the state to be on a par with international standards, the delay in beginning the process of selecting Vice-Chancellors for three universities questions its strategy. Though VCs-in-charge have been appointed, the void down the chain of command created by the absence of Pro-VCs places these universities in a tight spot.
The VC post of Cusat and Nuals fell vacant in October while MG University had been headless for quite some time. Though search committees had been constituted and the process of inviting applications had begun, the process was abandoned mid-way. The search committees were dismissed after various allegations cropped up.
“One allegation was some of the aspirants had been involved in the selection of the committee,” said K T Jaleel, Minister for Higher Education. “So even if the candidates are qualified for the post, we will have to reject their applications. To bring in transparency in the selection, the government has directed the universities to reconstitute the search committees,” he said. Universities which have been asked to reconstitute selection committees are Kerala Technical University, MG University and Cusat.
So the wait which began three and more months ago will now extend to another three by which time the next academic year will begin. Hence, the universities that had been plagued by one or other administrative problems will have to endure more. “Well, that won’t happen since VCs in-charge have been appointed. They have all the powers and are qualified to take care of the day to day functioning of the universities,” he added.
“Of course, VCs in-charge have been appointed. But if they are rendered incapable of taking care of their responsibilities as a result of illness or other issues, lack of a second-in-command will bring the entire administration to a standstill,” said a Cusat officer, who didn’t want to be named. Besides, in-charges are reluctant to implement the projects that had been sanctioned during the tenure of the previous VCs, he added.
This will adversely affect the quality of the institution, said the officer. However, the minister said, “If a situation arises that the in-charge is absent for a long period of time, the government will take steps to ensure the functioning of the varsity is not affected.” As to appointing in-charges who have no technical background in a science and technology university, the minister said, “History has proven that candidates from other streams have been able administrators.”