Nepal | April 23, 2019

Call to end political appointments in universities

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, August 3
Stating that political quota sharing while appointing top executives in universities had ruined the goodwill of universities and degraded the quality of higher education, professors, former vice-chancellors and others today demanded apolitical appointment to regain the goodwill of universities.

The post of VC in seven universities is going to fall vacant from this week as the four-year tenure of the incumbent VCs is going to end on August 7.

They have demanded an end to appointment to top executive posts on the basis of political power sharing.

They said that only an apolitical figure who is academically sound, has vision and passion to drive the university in a new direction can help regain the image of any university in the country.

On August 8, 2011, the then Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal as Chancellor of universities had appointed Prof Dr Hira Maharjan as VC of Tribhuvan University (TU), Shivahari Marahattha as VC of Nepal Sanskrit University (NSU), Prof Khagendra Prasad Bhattarai as VC of Pokhara University, Prof Maheshwor Man Shrestha as VC of Purbanchal University, Prof Kailash Nath Pyakurel as VC of Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Kali Prasad Risal as VC of Mid-western University (MWU) and Prof Jaya Raj Awasthi as VC of Far-western University (FWU).

Former education minister Ganga Lal Tuladhar, who was pro-chancellor of universities and chaired the VC Selection Committee, had recommended appointment of VCs on the basis of political power sharing.

The VCs in TU, NSU, FWU and AFU were close to CPN-UML, VCs in Pohhara University and MWU were close to Nepali Congress and the VC of Purbanchal University was close to the Maoist party.

Talking to The Himalayan Times today Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former VC of TU said no country in the world appoints VC on the basis of political power sharing.

“We want a pure academician with proven academic track record, extraordinary vision and strength to implement ideas in the top executive post in the university,” he said.

It is learnt that many intellectuals and professors such as Govinda Pokharel, vice chairperson of National Planning Commission (NPC), Prof Tirtha Khaniya, former member of NPC, Prof Uprendra Koirala, former vice chairperson of Higher Secondary Education Board Prof Guna Nidhi Neupane, rector, TU and many others have been knocking on the doors of political parties to grab the post of VC in various universities.

He said political appointees will remain cadres of political parties rather than leaders of universities.

“We are hopeful that a person selected without recommendation from political parties will work independently,” he added.

He stated that an independent search committee should work on selection of VCs from a list of qualified academic personalities.
He further said that he had personally given a few ideas to TU officials on improving academic quality but none of the ideas were implemented.

“Formation of TU Alumni Association was one of my advices, but they did not pay heed,” he said if it had been formed, the recovery works in TU after the quake would have been far easier and faster.

Rameshwor Upadhaya, president, Nepal University Teachers Association (NUTA), an umbrella organisation of teachers and professors from different universities across the country also echoed the same idea.

He said that they had warned the leaders of political parties in the past not to appoint VCs on the basis of power sharing, but they did not listen and the result is before us.“We should develop the university as a centre of excellence rather than a centre of political appointments” he said.

“This time, the PM should select persons who are academically excellent,” he added.

A version of this article appears in print on August 04, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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