The Presidency University (Amendment) Bill, 2013, granting greater powers to the university’s mentor group in recommending steps for academic excellence and monitoring their implementation was passed by the West Bengal Assembly on Thursday.

The legislation also has provisions for substitution of the Court and Executive Council by the Governing Board of the University. Posts of Distinguished Professors and Heritage Professors have been created and their qualifications specified in the new legislation.

The Bill lays down the provisions for appointment of Vice-Chancellor by a Search Committee comprising a nominee of the Chancellor, the State Government and the Governing Board of the University.

Participating in the discussion, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Amjad Hossain criticised the State Government’s decision to allocate more powers to the university mentor group. He said it will curb the autonomy of the University and result in a dispute between the Vice-Chancellor and the mentor group.

Stating that the previous Left Front Government had passed a Bill in 2010 upgrading the institution from a government college to a university, Mr. Hossain said the institution was referred to as a centre of excellence for quite some time.

“The mentor group is only trying to achieve excellence by bringing in teachers engaged in foreign universities,” he said, adding that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have achieved excellence with teachers from this country only.

Referring to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s comments that just one university was set up during the Left Front regime, Mr. Hossain went on to recount the names of the universities set up during the regime. Ms. Banerjee’s comments are completely false, he said.

Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu said the initiative at Presidency University is the outcome of a new approach to achieve excellence and if it succeeds it can be tried at other universities in the State.

Stating that members of the mentor group are scholars in their own right, he said the recommendations will help in achieving excellence at the University.  

  • CPI(M) MLA Amjad Hossain says the move will create problems between the VC and mentors

  • Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu says it is a new approach for academic excellence