Kerala To Have a Separate Chancellor For Each University? The Gov't Appointed Panel Advised

A panel of experts from the Kerala Higher Education Department has recommended that each university in the state appoints a separate Chancellor. The seven-member panel, headed by Shyam B Menon, former Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar University, New Delhi, believes that this would help to relieve some pressure on the universities and manage them more effectively.

Kerala Higher Education Department

A high-level panel set by the Kerala Higher Education Department has urged specifying a separate Chancellor for each university in the state. This would help to insulate the academic institutions from any controversies that might arise due to differences in interpretation of the federal character of India’s Constitution.

The seven-member panel, headed by Shyam B Menon and made up of former Vice Chancellors of Ambedkar University, has observed that the governing structures of Kerala’s universities have become academically counterproductive. This is due to what the panel believes is uninformed, over-politicized, and partisan interference in the day-to-day functioning of the university by external forces. The panel recommends that the internal governance of the university should be sequestered from the administrative controls of the government.

“There must be a separate Chancellor for each university, elected by the Board of Regents from among themselves,” the panel said in its report submitted to the government.

The Higher Education Department formed a panel last September in an attempt to modernize the sector. It has been recommended that the Chief Minister of the state be the Visitor of all public universities. As a Visitor, he/she would have the responsibility of ensuring that the governance of the university is in congruence with the mission mandated to them through legislation.

The current governor’s term as chancellor of the public universities in the state will end soon. The panel said that the Vice Chancellor should be a distinguished academic, and that their term should be enhanced to five years per term. They also said that a second term may be considered, until the Vice Chancellor reaches the age of 70.

“The Vice-Chancellor should be appointed by the Board of Regents, from a list of three names stated in order of preference recommended by the Search-cum-Selection Committee,” it said.

The panel also recommended that the Pro Vice-Chancellor shall be selected by the Board of Regents from among a pre-approved pool of three professors of the university put together by the Vice Chancellor.

It said the entire governing structure of the universities, both its academic and its administrative side, should reflect five major principles including academic freedom, financial autonomy, and governance from within.