KOLKATA: Two university teachers' bodies of West Bengal on Wednesday termed a new rule tabled in the Assembly to check direct communications between the chancellor and the varsities as "dangerous" for the autonomy of the educational institutes.
The Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) and the All Bengal University Teachers' Association (ABUTA) criticised the rule that said all communications between the two sides would henceforth be routed through the higher education department.
The governor is the chancellor of all the state-run universities. "The universities will become an extension of the Bikash Bhavan (higher education department headquarters) from now on. Vice-Chancellors who are also academicians are greatly humiliated by the rule," JUTA general secretary Partha Pratim Roy told PTI.
"Power to intervene into the academic matters of a university, either at the hands of the governor or the state government, is equally dangerous," ABUTA general secretary Goutam Maity said. However, Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Tuesday said the department will never interfere in the academic activities of any state university.
The new law is only aimed at keeping the higher education department posted about any important decision taken by a university at the meeting of its highest-decision making body and to ensure proper fund allotment, he said.
The rule came in the wake of continued acrimonious relations between Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the Trinamool Congress government on various issues including his recent visits to the Calcutta University and Jadavpur University to attend their Syndicate and Court meetings respectively.
The new rule stipulates "Every communication proposed to be made by the Chancellor to any State-aided University shall be routed through the (higher education) department." It will also allow vice-chancellors to call meetings of their highest decision making bodies in consultation with the higher education department, and not the chancellor as is the practice.