CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Wednesday enacted a bill to amend The Anna University Act, 1978 and bifurcate the varsity.
The varsity's four campuses in Chennai will be constituted as a 'unitary type' institution and called 'Anna Technological and Research University' while a new affiliating type university called 'Anna University' will be constituted to manage the affairs of the constituent and affiliated colleges.
The subsequent new Acts will be called Anna University (Amendment) Act 2020 and Anna Technological and Research University Act 1978. The new Act will come into force after the state government issues a notification.
Anna Technological and Research University will comprise the College of Engineering Guindy, Alagappa College of Technology, Madras Institute of Technology and School of Architecture and Planning at Chennai. The focus of the varsity will be to make it a premier innovation and research institution.
Meanwhile, Anna University, also situated at Chennai, will provide affiliation for engineering colleges in the State with a vision to, "concentrate on higher studies and research in engineering and technology," according to the bill. The division has been aimed at creating administrative ease to manage and monitor constituent and affiliated colleges.
The government will have the power to distribute the funds available between the soon to be constituted universities, "in such proportion as may be determined by a committee established under the Anna University Act 2020," the bill said.
MK Surappa, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor (VC) will be the VC of Anna Technological and Research University, until the end of his term. However, all incumbent authorities will cease to be so after the enactment of the Anna University (Amendment) Act 2020. Apart from the VC, other class I members of the syndicate will include secretaries in-charge of higher education, industries, information technology, and law and the Director of Technical Education (DoTE) and director of collegiate education.
The syndicate will also have Class II members which will include a professor or the dean from each of the four Chennai campuses and the government will also nominate one representative of industries, public and private sectors, one representative of research institutions, and one MLA from among constituencies in Chennai.
The academic council of the varsity will have the Class I members which include the VC, the dean, and the director of the library and the VC will nominate Class II members which will have eight professors and three educationists, three chief engineers from government departments, three representatives from industries and research organisations, three persons from the public sector, three persons from professional engineering societies, three representatives of eminence from small scale industries or entrepreneurial development board and one teacher from IISc- Bangalore, IIT Madras, IIM Bangalore, and NITT.
The decision to bifurcate the institution was already in the pipeline when the state was aiming to obtain the Institute of Eminence (IoE) status for the varsity. In December last year, the Tamil Nadu government set up a high-level committee of top State ministers to study its bifurcation.
The state government, many times in the past, said that it will continue to uphold the existing reservation policy at any cost. It is unclear at this point if the splitting is still associated with administrative work for IoE status.
The high level committee consisted of five State ministers, including School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan, Minister for Electricity P Thangamani, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, Minister for Law C Ve Shanmugam and Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan.
When Higher Education Minister KP Anbalagan introduced the Bill in the Assembly, former Higher Education Minister and DMK MLA K Ponmudiopposed it in the introductory stage. He pointed out that it was only due to the similar reasons spelt out in the Bill, the previous DMK regime had multiple campuses for Anna University but it was revoked by the AIADMK government. However, Anbalagan said that Anna University was being divided only for administrative reasons.
Thiruvalluvar University to be split as well:
On Wednesday in the Assembly, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami proposed the bifurcation of Thiruvalluvar University as well. He said that on hearing requests from the Law Minister and people of Villupuram, Thiruvalluvar University shall be split and a new university shall be constituted at Villupuram district.