Following the report of a large number of financial irregularities in over a dozen of universities in the state of Karnataka in last five years, the state government has proposed a comprehensive amendment to the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 that aims at restricting the authority of Vice-Chancellors (VCs) in the state- run universities.
The move is being perceived as an effort to undermine the autonomy of state-run universities. The government has proposed to revoke the absolute power entrusted to Vice-Chancellors in the appointments. The amendment also wants to change rules relating to the selection and appointment of Vice-Chancellors.
Basavraj Rayareddi, the higher education minister said that the government would set up the Karnataka Higher Education Recruitment Commission and Karnataka Higher Education Construction Company so as to bring clearance in the financial transactions of the universities in these areas. The move will minimise corruption in the recruitment of non-teaching and teaching personnel. One of the objectives of the proposed comprehensive bill is to ensure that administrative, academic and financial performance of the state-run varsities are effectively monitored.
The minister also said that the construction firm will take on work ordered by the VCs. But they will abide by necessary parameters. The function of the recruitment commission will be on the same lines of the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC). The commission will ensure that meritorious candidates get the jobs.
Rayareddi pointed out that the amendments were an attempt to curb corrupt practices in universities. It will ensure that universities are accountable and their functioning mode remains clear. The focus of the universities alway remains on academic issues only.
He added that government would abandon the practice of appointing faculty members to administrative positions. Eligible IAS and KAS officers will be posted as registrars. The government would appoint professional accountancy and financial officers as to maintain proper records.
But the academicians and experts feel that the proposed bill would affect the quality of education. A senior academician at Bangalore University said that it is a clear attempt by the government to take away the autonomy of universities and bestow absolute power to the state. The move will give more power to government and ministers in the affairs of the University.