At a time when Berhampur University is mired in corruption, nepotism, financial irregularity, mismanagement in examination processes and rapid deterioration in standard of teaching and research, Prof Deepak Kumar Behera, a senior professor of Sambalpur University, has been appointed as its Vice-Chancellor.
After assuming the office on August 1, Prof Behera started taking stock of the situation by having an open interaction with students, teachers, officers and employees of the university.
He is scheduled to visit different PG Departments and complete the exercise by August 18. This approach of the new Vice-Chancellor was appreciated by different stake-holders except the unruly and corrupt group consisting of a few teachers, officers and employees. The challenges before the Vice-Chancellor to restore the past glory of the university are many ranging from proper classroom teaching, quality research and embezzlement of funds.
However, the immediate challenge before Prof Behera is effective management of the examination system of the university. The history of examination section proves that it has turned the epicentre of corruption and manipulation. Irregularity has been detected in selection of examination centre, appointment of examiners, evaluation of examination and research papers and issuing fake marksheets.
Sankar Majhi, a Senior Assistant working in the confidential section of the university, was arrested by Malkangiri police in 2013 and is now in jail. Majhi was allegedly involved in running a racket of increasing marks by taking bribe.
Another Senior Assistant, Subash Panda, against whom Malkangiri police registered the case along with Majhi, is on leave for a month to avoid police action. Involvement of two Senior Assistants in the racket has cast a shadow over integrity of senior officers.
Prior to this, the university had attracted criticism in selection of colleges for Plus III examinations in order to favour a Minister of State. Besides this case, examination centre fixation through unfair means has been a common practice in the university during past few years, especially in case of private colleges offering courses like BBA, BCA, Computer Science, Electronic Science, MBA and MFC.
The report of MS Padhi, former Secretary of Higher Education Department, submitted to the Governor has revealed irregularity in appointment of examiners for adjudicating MPhil thesis in English and Oriya in the university. For last several years, teachers of the university are managing the affairs of Registrar, Comptroller of Finance and Controller of Examination posts.
As per the norms, State cadre administrative officials should be appointed to these posts.