'Haste' in Selecting VC for Kerala Varsity Draws Flak
The alleged ‘haste’ on the part of the search committee in selecting a new Vice- Chancellor for the University of Kerala has come in for sharp criticism from within the University Syndicate, even as the search panel is understood to have zeroed in on three names for the top post.
Syndicate member B S Jyothi Kumar has made his displeasure openly known. “It is understood that the search committee meeting was wrapped up in five minutes and that three names have been shortlisted. Should such an important meeting to select a Vice-Chancellor conclude in five minutes?” Jyothi Kumar asked.
According to sources, the panel has shortlisted P K Radhakrishnan, professor, School of Chemical Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University; V Prasannakumar, professor of Geology at the University of Kerala and S V Sudheer, director of the Academic Staff College, University of Kerala as possible candidates for the post of Vice-Chancellor. The search committee comprised Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan (representing the government), Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh (UGC representative) and N Narayanan Nair (Kerala University Senate representative). Dinesh Singh participated in the meeting from Delhi via video-conferencing. The government is understood to be keen on selecting a person from the Ezhava community for the post reportedly to maintain caste equations. According to sources, Prasannakumar is the front-runner for the top post.
Jyothi Kumar, who is also a KPCC secretary, demanded that the process adopted for arriving at the three names be made public.
“Caste should not be the only criterion. The panel should also ensure that academic excellence is given due weightage,” he said.
According to sources, the haste on the part of the government in selecting the new Vice-Chancellor is due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“The notification for Lok Sabha elections is expected to be out soon and the government is aware that the appointment, already pending for over a year, will be put on hold till the polls are over,” a top official said.
The search committee has forwarded the three names to the Governor, who is the Chancellor of the University.