Former VCs want syndicate replaced with Board of Governors
The Forum of Former Vice Chancellors of Karnataka (FVCK) has urged the State Government to replace the syndicate with a Board of Governors (BoG) having wide-ranging powers, including the authority to appoint Vice Chancellors.
FVCK president K S Rangappa welcomed the move of the State Government to amend the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 to bring in changes in the structure and functions of universities in consonance with recommendations made by the National Education Policy 2020, and has made certain suggestions, including replacing the syndicate with a BoG.
“The archaic syndicate must be replaced by a Board of Governors, which should have wide-ranging powers and authority, including appointment of Vice Chancellors. In this respect, the recently introduced IIM (Indian Institute of Management) model is worth emulating. Well-defined statutes should be in place to govern the steps to be taken by the search-cum-selection committee for identifying suitable candidates,” Prof. Rangappa said.
All nominations, either by the government or by the chancellor, should be made only on the basis of recommendations of the BoG and the Vice Chancellor. “The idea is to have a coherent team that will provide collective wisdom for efficient governance,” he said.
He recommends unrestricted autonomy to the BoG in matters other than financial. “For example, both affiliation and disaffiliation must be decided only by the university concerned,” he said.
The role of the government should be more of a ‘facilitator’ than a ‘controller’, he said while adding that too many regulations prove counter-productive. “Let our universities function on the roadmap drawn by the BoG in consultation with academicians. The government can intervene in case of gross omissions and commissions,” he said.
The other suggestions by FVCK to ‘elevate our universities to reinforce the twin activities of teaching and research’ include filling up vacant faculty positions on a priority by inducting both qualified and competent candidates. The vacancies are estimated to be around 50%.
The infrastructure of old and new universities must be strengthened through adequate development grants and with due encouragement to raise internal resources. “For today’s knowledge systems, we need today’s tools and technology, not yesterdays,” Prof. Rangappa said.
For large universities with several hundred affiliated colleges, the FVCK said the post of pro-chancellor is highly desirable to take care of admissions, affiliations, examinations, litigation and student welfare activities, like hostel facilities, scholarships, and cultural programmes.
Also, in the context of free access and right to information, the post of Public Relation Officer (PRO) has become necessary in a university to focus on various activities in the right perspective.
Prof. Rangappa suggested that a couple of universities, as an experiment, be recognised as State Institutions of Excellence with full autonomy to usher in ‘novelty, creativity and vibrance’ on the lines of some of the best global universities. “We certainly need models for best academic practices. Once these are demonstrated, other institutions could imbibe them,” he said.