The announcement of granting autonomy to all the post-graduate departments of Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University came as a shocking surprise for everyone. Those who are not associated with the university or academics took as a pleasant surprise and welcomed it wholeheartedly. But those who are in the knowhow of the functioning were confused.
RTMNU Vice-Chancellor Dr Subhash Chaudhary made the announcement before a section of media persons on Wednesday evening. The media persons promptly reported the announcement, without question him on the procedure.
Although the University Grants Commission is encouraging autonomy to universities, departments and higher education institutions, a definite procedure has been laid for it. Dr Chaudhari, could not be contacted for further explaination relating to the announcement, despite several attempts on telephone.
Several questions are now being raised by academicians and also authorities functioning with the University. Senior Management Council members Dr R G Bhoyar bluntly called the announcement as ‘made in a hurry, without following the laid down procedure’. How can the autonomy to 43 post-graduate departments be granted even when they have not submitted any proposal for it.
The procedure has been provided under Section 122 of Maharashtra Public Universities Act.
The proposal of any department or any institute has to be placed before the scrutiny committee, Academic Council and then Management Council. Changes, if any, in the syllabus is made through Board of Studies and then Academic Council.
If even seed is not available and sown, how can a plant is expected to grow and fruits reaped? Is the question.
Another Management Council member Dr Urmila Dabir also was surprised over the newspaper reports. Discussion on granting autonomy, that too for making changes in syllabi, was held in a meeting of the Management Council. Some members had raised several objections on the procedure. None was against updating the syllabus. But the laid down procedure cannot be overlooked.
The Director of Innovation, Incubation and Linkages Dr Rajesh Singh stated that the laid down procedure as mentioned in Section 122 has to be followed. He was even not aware of any such announcement by the VC or reports published in some newspapers.
Facilitating changes in syllabi is a welcome state. With fast changing technology updating syllabi is absolutely necessary. The procedural delay in committee-based system of the University hampers this procedure. Steps to remove these hurdles would be welcomed by the academicians and students as well. However, the rules laid down for the purpose cannot be ignored.