Tamil Nadu

State’s plan to appoint VCs a blow to university autonomy: Balagurusamy

E. Balagurusamy

E. Balagurusamy

Former Anna University Vice-Chancellor E. Balagurusamy has expressed apprehension that the series of Bills introduced in the Assembly to empower the Tamil Nadu government (instead of the Governor-Chancellor) to appoint Vice-Chancellors to the State universities will destroy the autonomy and integrity of the university system.

It would also “bring back the popular system of corruption and nepotism and would be detrimental to the quality of higher education in the State, which is already in a bad state”, he said.

“Any procedure [to appoint Vice-Chancellors] must eliminate political interference, minimising nepotism, favouritism and corruption in the appointment of leaders of higher education,” he said in a statement.

Between 2006 and 2017, the kith and kin of Ministers and political leaders; active members or strong loyalists of ruling parties; people from predominant communities; and the highest bidders were appointed as Vice-Chancellors. A personal assistant to a Minister and a personal secretary to a Vice-Chancellor were also appointed to the post. The list included a person jailed for smuggling gold, he pointed out. The appointments were made with the tacit support of the then Governors, he said.

Mr. Balagurusamy recalled former Anna University Vice-Chancellor M. Anandakrishnan’s statement raising the issue of the post being “auctioned” and of touts negotiating from the Secretariat with the Raj Bhavan. This resulted in corruption in appointments, admissions, revaluation and purchases. Regular university processes, such as affiliation and sanction of new courses, were done for financial benefits, a practice that undermined the quality of higher education, he said.

According to him, the Governor, as the Chancellor, could act independent of the Council of Minister on matters related to universities. He felt that in the past four years, with the Governors following a rigorous and transparent selection process, there had been a significant fall in corrupt practices.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 4:45:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/states-plan-to-appoint-vcs-a-blow-to-university-autonomy-balagurusamy/article65416745.ece