Streamline V-C appointments

Bangalore University

The recent appointment of vice-chancellors for Bangalore University (BU), Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) and Karnataka State Law University (KSLU) is to be welcomed. These positions had been lying vacant for a long time. Governor Vajubhai Vala has appointed Prof KR Venugopal as the vice-chancellor of BU, Dr S Sachidanand as the vice-chancellor of RGUHS and Easwar Bhat as the vice-chancellor of KSLU. In BU, the post had been vacant since February 7, 2017. Five persons have temporarily held the post during this period. RGUHS has not had a regular vice-chancellor since July 14, 2017 and since then the registrar had held the charge. The post at KSLU had also lain vacant for a long time. While these universities have got their vice-chancellors, Mysore University is still waiting for one. It is not known how long the university has to wait. 

The delay in the appointment of vice-chancellors of universities has become very common. It is rare, perhaps never, that a vice-chancellor is appointed before the expiry of the term of the outgoing V-C and takes charge on the same day. The reasons are many. Politics and falling standards in academic and even public life are major reasons. The appointments have been badly politicised and are sometimes caught up in the crossfire between the governor and the government. The laid down procedure is often violated or misused. Recommendations of search committees are sometimes bad and at other times not followed. The attempt most of the time is to appoint politically or otherwise connected people. Candidates themselves lobby with decision-makers. All this takes time and finally, when someone is appointed it is not always the right person. Some of them have been found to be not qualified for the position, others have turned to be corrupt and yet others inefficient or otherwise unfit. 

A vice-chancellor is the academic and administrative head of a university. Lack of guidance from this top office for a long period harms the universities, whose standards have been progressively falling. The process of appointment should start well before the expiry of the incumbent’s term and the person chosen should be able to take over on the day the incumbent lays down office. Vice-chancellors should be morally upright, educationally well-qualified and efficient in administration. They should be able to inspire and lead the students. Universities once had such vice-chancellors. The least that should be done now is to find the right persons and appoint them without delay so that there is no break in leadership. University appointments, especially of vice-chancellors, should not be hostage to politics and corruption.

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Streamline V-C appointments

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