Educationists oppose amendment in Maharashtra Public Universities Act

Educationists oppose amendment in Maharashtra Public Universities Act

A special discuss programme was organised at Vidyapeeth Vikas Manch on Monday to oppose the state government’s decision amend the ‘Maharashtra Public Universities Act’ and introduce a new post of ‘pro-chancellor’ which will be the state’s higher and technical education minister.

Former vice-chancellors, SPPU senate members and senior educationists who attended the meet decided to challenge the decision in court.

“There is no need to create such a post and allow rights to be reserved with the state government. Vice-chancellors are the authority for academic and administrative decisions in the university and the amendment if comes into force will make them toothless,” said Prof RS Mali, former vice-chancellor of the then Pune university (Savitribai Phule Pune University).

As per the amendment, the pro-chancellor would be having various powers like chairing the university senate meeting — high-level body that takes policy decision — and to preside over the university’s convocation ceremony in the absence of chancellor who is the governor of the state.

The state government has also altered the selection process of vice-chancellor in the state. The state government will shortlist five nominees by a selection panel and two of them will be sent to governor for final consideration.

Prof Vidyasagar Pandit, former vice-chancellor of Nanded University, said, “Affordable quality education is needed for students coming from rural and below poverty line backgrounds. If the autonomy powers of the universities are reduced then quality of education will also suffer. And more political interference will increase in university functioning.”

Prof Murlidhar Chandekar, vice-chancellor of Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, said, “Creating a new post above the vice-chancellors and giving it powers in policy making decisions is unacceptable. Moreover, why it is that only the state higher education minister will only by on that post. Academic agenda should not change into political agenda while running state universities and we should oppose it together.”

Educationists, senate members and owners of institutes present agreed to move the court, if need be, to oppose the state government’s plan.