VC appointments stuck in political row


Himalayan News Service

Political parties’ failure to forge consensus has taken a toll on the appointment of vice-chancellors at seven universities in the country. 

The political parties in the ruling coalition and the opposition Nepali Congress had formed a committee a month ago to sort out differences and make a list of candidates for the post of vice-chancellors. Though the committee has held five rounds of talks since then, it has failed to come up with a solution. 

Talking to this daily, CPN-UML leader Bamdev Gautam, one of the members of the committee, said the parties have stuck to their stance with an aim of getting a bigger share of the pie.

“There is a little progress in this regard. Parties may take weeks to finalise the list,” added Gautam. 

Gautam, Defence Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel, Maoist leader Barshaman Pun and NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat were assigned to choose executive heads in the seven universities, including TU and Mahendra Sanskrit University. 

Education Minister Ganga Lal Tuladhar, who is authorised to recommend the names of the candidates to the Prime Minister for approval, has publicly put blame on the parties. 

Parties should shun unhealthy practices in academic sector and the VCs should be chosen on the basis of their academic excellence and proven administrative record, said Mahat. 

Meanwhile, former VCs have urged the government to appoint qualified candidates to run the universities for a lasting effect in the higher education. 

Former VCs’ forum, coordinated by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, organised a press meet yesterday and strongly opposed the idea of dividing varsity executive posts among the parties, claiming that it undermines the prospect of the tens of thousands of students and makes educational institutions a puppet. 

The political leaders have misconception that all the problems can be solved politically and have brushed aside the value of education to uplift the country, said Toran Bahadu Karki, former VC of Purbanchal University. 

A number of Nepali Congress-affiliated professors, led by Kul Prasad Koirala, had staged an hour-long sit-in at the gate of the PM’s residence in Baluwatar after the PM denied to meet them and receive a memorandum yesterday. 

Following the sit-in, PM Khanal received their memorandum. They urged the PM to appoint the VCs on the basis of political consensus or choose qualified candidates at the earliest.

(Source: The Himalayantimes Published July 22)