The committee led by Panjab University (PU) senate member Jarnail Singh which was tasked to study the possibility of converting PU into a central institute has prepared a concept note which says that PU can retain both syndicate and senate and also the autonomy of the university would not be affected.
Though a consensus is yet to reach among committee members but the note has been circulated among senators on Sunday.
Several senators said that converting PU into a central varsity was the only solution to address varsity’s financial crisis. Fellow Gurmeet Singh said that all efforts should be made for making PU a central university while fellow professor Rajat Sandhir pointed it as the only permanent solution to PU’s problems.
On Punjab government claims over PU, the concept note says that if argued cogently, the state government can be persuaded to reissue a no-objection certificate (NOC) of the kind that it had issued in 2008. It adds, “Chandigarh as a UT can ask for its central university and PU in such a case can emerge as a natural choice. The transformation will not dilute Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh.”
“When Haryana left its claim on PU, it never left its claim on Chandigarh. If PU is made central varsity, it is to benefit students as it will bring more fellowships and fee structure will also be subsidised,” said professor Akshaya Kumar, a member of the committee.
The concept note adds that the admissions as well as recruitments at PU are based on national-level tests and entrance exams. Also, it is not provincial in its profile of faculty and students. Moreover, there is no reservation based on domicile of students.
‘Apprehensions are misplaced’
PU has about 180 affiliated colleges and once it becomes central, it is feared that these colleges would be disaffiliated. The concept note says that this is a misinformation that is often spread. “There are many affiliating universities that are central universities. In 2009, three state universities – Ghasiram University, Bilaspur, Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar and Hemvati Nandan Behuguna University, Garhwal were transformed into central universities. Prior to these, Allahabad University, University of Pudduchery, Manipur University and Nagaland Universities were elevated from state to central varsity status. These universities continue to have affiliated colleges,” says the concept note.
On the ratio of teaching to non-teaching staff at 1:1.1 in central universities, the concept note says that in all those universities which were upgraded into central ones, the non-teaching employees who exceeded the ratio (teaching to non-teaching) of 1:1.1 were not retrenched, nor were there service conditions changed.
On senate and syndicate losing powers, it points out that various central universities have different governing bodies. For instance, the governing structures of Allahabad University and Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar are markedly different. The court in Allahabad University, is equivalent to senate of PU. The court has more than 50 members which include representatives from registered graduates, students, principals of constituent colleges.