Umbrella Act can be withdrawn: Education minister


Himalayan News Service

Education minister Dinanath Sharma on Wednesday allayed speculation of university Vice Chancellors (VCs) that the parliament would pass the controversial higher education bill, popularly referred to as umbrella Act for all varsities, without addressing concerns raised by stakeholders.

“The fact that the umbrella Act is being discussed in the parliament does not mean that no further discussions with stakeholders can be held on the issue,” minister Sharma said, adding, “We are ready to discuss the subject with stakeholders and open to all alternatives.”

Minister Sharma´s statement comes against the backdrop of the VCs of different varsities flaying the umbrella Act, dubbing it as ´irrelevant´ and unsuitable for regulating the country´s higher education.

In October, a meeting of University Coordination Committee, of which the VCs are members, had officially objected to the act. The VCs are against the Act because, they say, it curbs ´already insufficient autonomy´ of varsities and enables bureaucrats to dismiss any university chief.

Also at the eighteenth anniversary program of University Grants Commission (UGC) held on Wednesday, Kathmandu University VC Prof Dr Suresh Raj Sharma asked the government not to pass the act as it is.

“Universities do not have similar characteristics,” he argued. “How can a single act be allowed to govern varsities with different character?”

(Source: Republica National Daily)