The appointment of P.V. Valsaraj, former Dean, Student Welfare, University of Calicut, as the assistant director of the university’s Institute of Tribal Studies and Research (ITSR) at Chethalayam in Wayanad is likely to kick up a row.
Vice Chancellor M.K. Jayaraj issued an order appointing Mr. Valsaraj to the post on May 28. The VC said in the order that an Assistant Director with expertise and experience in handling student-related issues had been proposed to be appointed “in the light of some untoward incidents which affected the smooth functioning of the ITSR”. The official was expected to bring functioning of the institute “back to normalcy and assist the director”. The terms and conditions of the appointment would be decided by the Syndicate, the order added.
T. Vasumathi, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, has been holding the charge of Director, ITSR, since 2019. From now on, the assistant director will be in charge of the daily works, conduct of examinations and students’ welfare. The director’s job will be confined to just overseeing all these. Classes were reportedly suspended at the institute recently after differences of opinion arose between the director and a section of teachers there.
However, it has been pointed out that the university Syndicate had not approved the appointment and a notification had not been issued for the purpose. The appointment needed permission from the government as it involved financial responsibility, said Syndicate member P. Rasheed Ahammed, in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor. He pointed out that most of the students in the institute were girls and the present director was well-versed in student management and was an expert in educational psychology. Mr. Ahammed said it was also a violation of the Syndicate decision not to hire people aged above 60 in non-teaching posts. It also ran counter to the last Syndicate meeting’s decision to appoint a full-time director for ITSR, he added.
Mr. Jayaraj told The Hindu on Tuesday that the appointment would be temporary in nature. It was just to sort out certain issues that developed at the institute recently. He said there had been a proposal to appoint a full-time Director, but it would take some time. “Other terms and conditions of the appointment will be discussed at the next Syndicate meeting scheduled for June 10,” he added.