Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 11
In a major development, the Government of India has constituted an 11-member high-level committee for recommending governance reforms in Panjab University (PU) in the light of the National Education Policy, 2020.
The committee members are the Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, and Member, UGC; the Director, IIT, Ropar; the Director, IIM, Amritsar; Prof KN Pathak, former PU Vice-Chancellor; the PU Vice-Chancellor; a nominee of the Chairman, UGC; a Vice-Chancellor of a state government university to be nominated by the Punjab Chief Minister; the DPI (Colleges), Punjab; the Director (Higher Education), UT Administration; a nominee of the PU Chancellor; and the PU Registrar, Member Secretary.
A document in this regard was submitted during a hearing of a case between former senators and the PU at the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. The committee, which was ordered to be formed on February 8, will submit its recommendations within two months. It has been directed that the committee will elicit views of different stakeholders, study the recommendations made by different committees in the past and examine the current best practices within the state and the country as far as governance is concerned.
Reason for the formation of the committee
The development is important in terms of the existing scenario wherein the institution is being run without a Senate or Syndicate, albeit for the first time. The Government of India has submitted that a sub-committee on governance headed by Justice (Dr) Bharat Bhushan Prasoon (retd) was constituted in April 2016. A report on essential reforms related to the Senate, the Syndicate and the financial arrangements in June 2018 were suggested. However, no further development took place on these suggestions.
“As compared to the Central universities, IITs, IIMs and the state government-run universities, the size (91 members in the Senate) and the composition as well as the process of constituting the Senate and the Syndicate in the PU is far more complex, time-consuming and cost-intensive. Adding to this is the manner in which deans are elected rather than being chosen for academic excellence,” stated the circular.
It further said, “If the PU has to achieve its innate potential and grow into a front-ranking university, it is imperative that it should streamline its governance system. A lean and efficient governance structure is needed. Against this backdrop, it is felt desirable that a high-level committee of experts be constituted to examine various facets of the existing governance structure and recommend the way forward.”
Letter by PUTA
The document submitted in the High Court also referred to a letter wherein the PU teachers’ body had demanded governance reforms. “The Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) had also given a representation to the then Union Home Minister on September 7, 2016, for initiating governance reforms.”
No changes since 1947
It has been further stated, “The PU is one of the oldest universities in India. The Panjab University Act 1947 is based on the Indian University Act 1904. Ever since its inception, no major changes have been made in its governing structure.”
“Over the past 10 years, there have been numerous attempts to rethink the way the PU can be more effectively and efficiently managed. A team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council visited the university in 2015 and made a specific observation that its governance structure, especially in the terms of appointment of faculty deans, should be revisited.”
The PU campus will be the secretariat of the committee. The PU Registrar will act as Member Secretary and will convene meetings and ensure its smooth functioning.
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