Now, VCs will have to teach

Now, VCs will have to teach

The higher education department has made it mandatory for vice-chancellors and registrars of state universities to teach for specified hours in a month.

A notification, issued recently, has stipulated that a vice-chancellor (VC) has to teach at least eight hours in a month. Registrar (Administration) and registrar (Evaluation) must teach at least 16 hours in a month. Until now there was no such rule.

A vice-chancellor serves as an executive and academic head. His/her responsibility is to administer the university and be accountable to the university council and the chancellor, under the norms.

 The government often appoints officials, in particular KAS officers, as registrars. Rarely academicians are appointed. The proposed Karnataka State Universities Act clearly states that only officials should be appointed as registrars.

The notification (ED 333/18/1/2017) has said, “It has been decided to utilise the teaching experience of senior professors who are in administrative posts. This is done for the good of students.”

The department has also recalled how 2,000 years ago Nalanda, Takshashila, Vallabhi universities and later Banaras University, had attracted students and produced scholars. It is essential to continue the tradition. It is important to utilise the knowledge and expertise of senior professors for the good of students, it added.

Mandatory

It is mandatory that in a week, assistant professors have to teach for 16 hours and associate professors for 14 hours. There are examples of how VCs had made time to teach, the notification said.  Enquiries made by DH with a cross-section of universities revealed that not many VCs and registrars have begun engaging students in classrooms.

However, the new norm has not gone down well with academicians. Kannada University VC Mallika Ghanti said there is no need for the government to remind professors to teach because that is their primary responsibility. “Such instructions or suggestions should not come from a minister because he is not an education expert. Let subject experts speak about what VCs should do. Anyway, we have not received the notification.”

She also said professors such as D M Nanjundappa and Rudraiah, when they were VCs, used to occasionally teach. She said even she regularly addresses students. So, there is no need for the government to issue such direction, she added. Similar views were expressed by former VCs M S Thimmappa and N R Shetty.

Thimmappa said the government has taken an unwise and impractical decision. If a VC begins teaching, then classrooms would turn into grievances cell. “Bangalore University has no less than 600 constituent colleges. As a VC of this varsity, I used to work from 9 am to 9 pm. So much was the administrative workload. Occasionally I used to conduct classes,” he said. He said security could also be an issue.

N R Shetty said the government must not dictate terms to VCs as to how they should manage varsities.

“The role of a VC is different from that of a professor. The government selects the most experienced academician for a VC’s post.  After appointing the right person, it  must not interfere,” he said.  However, Prof J Somashekar, Registrar, University of Mysore, said he has been regularly teaching in addition to attending to administrative work.

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