Expert panel moots politician-free varsity Syndicates, Senates

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Kottayam: Political interference in the administrative matters of universities should be avoided and decentralisation of authority is a must for their effective autonomy.

These were among the recommendations of an expert committee constituted to evolve appropriate modalities for reforming the State's higher education sector.

Political appointments should be avoided in the Syndicate, Senate and Academic Council, the bodies responsible for leading academic activities. Instead, national and international experts and academicians should be included, the committee, headed by Dr Shyam B Menon, former Vice-Chancellor of Delhi-based Ambedkar University has recommended.

The panel further recommended the setting up of a single-window system to avoid the delay in making decisions. Currently, each decision has to be ratified by the Syndicate. This has to be changed.

The panel was constituted this September to recommend means for a comprehensive modernisation of the higher education sector. The committee would submit its recommendations in January.
The panel has Prof T Pradeep, Director, Department of Physics, IIT-Madras, as its convener. Dr Sabu Thomas (Vice-Chancellor, MG University), Dr Ayesha Kidwai (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi), Prof R Ramkumar (Member, Kerala Planning Board), Dr Sabu Abdulhameed (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Kannur University) and Prof M V Narayanan (Calicut University) are the committee members.

360 degree appraisal system
The expert committee has recommended a total revamp of the curriculum, examination system and administration of universities. Best practises being followed by foreign universities, and premier Indian educational institutions, including IITs, should be replicated.

Industry-college collaboration, support of foreign universities, mutual performance appraisal of students and teachers are also part of the committee's recommendations.

Board of Studies: Kannur University to amend statute to keep Governor out

The Kannur University Syndicate has decided to amend its statute to drop the Governor's right to appoint members to the Board of Studies.

The Governor, as Chancellor, has been appointing Board of Studies' members from a list of names suggested by the Syndicate. Contrary to the convention, the Syndicate directly appointed the members, and later informed the Governor. The Syndicate's move has sparked a controversy.

The University Act, while detailing the powers and responsibilities of the Syndicate, has specified that it could nominate members to the Board of Studies. However, while mentioning the Board of Studies, the Act mandates to nominate members according to the statute, which says the Chancellor (Governor) should finalise the members.

A Syndicate meeting held on Tuesday decided to amend the instructions in the statue that are in contradiction with the Act.

A petition challenging the constitution of the Board of Studies is under the consideration of the High Court of Kerala.

The petition alleged that 68 of the Syndicate-appointed members did not have the eligibility, and the Board was reconstituted without the Governor's knowledge to appoint these members.

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