Candidates recommended for VCs in four universities amid controversy

Kathmandu, August 23

Amid controversy that the agreement that vice-chancellors would not be appointed on the basis of political power sharing as was done in the past, had been breached, the VC Recommendation Committee led by Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav, yesterday recommended the names of eligible candidates unilaterally for four universities including Tribhuvan University (TU).

Minister Yadav, a Nepali Congress leader, is also pro-chancellor of all the universities of the country, including the country’s oldest and largest university TU.

The Committee recommended Prof Tirtha Khaniya, Prof Kul Prasad Koirala, Prof Ghanashyam Lal Das and Prof Bhusan Shrestha as VCs for TU, Nepal Sanskrit University, Purbanchal University and Far-western University respectively.

The posts of Vice Chancellor in seven universities out of nine universities in the country had been lying vacant from August 8 after the tenure of the former VCs ended on August 7.

All recommended candidates for VCs are close to the ruling Nepali Congress. Prof Khaniya, a PhD from University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was the first vice-chairperson of Higher Secondary Education Board and a member of National Planning Commission from the NC quota, while other candidates were also associated with NC aligned Democratic Professors Association (DPA).

On February 16, 2013, THT had published a story titled ‘Educationist Khaniya in plagiarism row’ where he was found to be copying others’ texts while writing an article in a journal of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association in 2010.

Khaniya had lifted part of an article‚ including its conclusion‚ from the work of Ferit Kilickaya‚ an English reacher at the Middle East Technical University‚ Ankara‚ and published it as his article — Use of authentic materials in EFL classrooms — in 2006 without giving due credit to Kilickaya. Kilickaya’s article — Authentic Materials and Cultural Content in EFL Classrooms — was published in 2004.

Prof Khaniya said, “This is a baseless rumour spread by people who don’t want to see me in the post of VC,” adding, “If it is plagiarism, the original writer should lodge a complaint about it with the concerned authorities and it should be investigated to prove it as plagiarism.”

He said that it was just a scandal to ruin my career.

Yagya Bahadur Karki, a member of NPC and a member of the VC Recommendation Committee said that they had recommended the names of VCs in an inclusive way.

He said that there is a Madhesi and a woman also in the list of VCs for four universities.

Prof Das who is a former campus chief of Biratnagar-based Mahendra Morang Campus. She is from the Madhesi community, while Prof Shrestha, a professor of History in TU, is a woman.

Dr Karki said, “For the first time, a university is going to get a woman VC,” adding, “A history professor is going to create history by serving the Far-western University.”

Prof Koirala is former chairperson of DPA and professor of Nepali at Exhibition Road-based Ratna Rajya Campus.

Meanwhile, stating that Education Minister Yadav had unilaterally made the decision of recommending the names of candidates close to the NC, CPN-UML aligned Progressive Professors Association have decided to stage stern protest programmes from tomorrow.

On August 8, 2011, the then Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, as chancellor of universities had appointed VCs close to the CPN-UML in four universities, including TU, two VCs close to NC and one VC close to the Maoists.