With the incumbent Anna University Vice Chancellor P Mannar Jawahar set to demit office in less than a fortnight, there is ambiguity in academic circles over choosing his successor. In all probability the process for selecting the new Vice Chancellor for the soon-to-be expanded university is likely to be delayed.
The Anna University is in a state of transition with the government deciding to merge the five Anna Universities of Technology with the premier institution.
The State Government is yet to notify the date from which the unified Anna University would come into existence. On the other hand, the present university has been functioning without a syndicate for over a year. As a result, authorities are not in a position to set the ball rolling to constitute a search committee to shortlist three Vice Chancellor candidates.
Under normal circumstances, the search committee would comprise a nominee each of the Governor-Chancellor, the university’s Academic-Senate and the Syndicate. But, during the previous DMK regime the composition of the syndicate was controversially changed by amending the Anna University Act with a view to vest greater governmental control over its administration. The decision was challenged before the High Court due to which the syndicate was never constituted.
“This is a situation of being neither here nor there. The newly-enacted Tamil Nadu University Laws (Amendment and Repeal) Act 2011 says that the senior-most professor in the university shall officiate as V-C till a candidate is appointed for the post.”
“But the Act, which was notified in the Gazette in late September 2011, is yet to come into force as no decision has been taken on the report of a committee constituted to oversee the merger of the five AUTs with the Anna University,” a senior academic pointed out.
Jawahar had assumed office on June 27, 2008 and his tenure was to have ended last year. However, in March last year the then Governor Surjit Singh Barnala had sparked a row by extending Professor’ Jawahar’s tenure by a year. His extended tenure will end on June 27.
“The government must ensure that the university, which would have over 500 affiliated engineering colleges under its fold, gets a full time VC at the earliest instead of an ad hoc administrator,” a professor said.