Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Nitish Kumar Urges Centre to Maintain the Autonomy of Nalanda University !!

Nalanda University’s chancellor George Yeo had recently resigned from his post, because government had dissolved the previous governing board of the university without taking him into confidence. Regarding this, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has written a 2 page letter to External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, stating that the NDA government should not change the motive behind the idea of establishing the new Nalanda. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was not happy with this step and said that center needs to consult with all the members of distinguished academicians and stakeholders before taking such a decision.

Nitish Kumar said that Centre should keep in mind that how state government has decided to recreate the Nalanda university fame as it was in the ancient times and establish a new Nalanda university in Bihar.

In 2007 Bihar government enacted a state law on Nalanda University and requested the Central government to take control of the university.  “In 2010 when Central Act on Nalanda University was passed, all powers were transferred to central government”,   stated Nitish Kumar.

George yeo stated that central government is interfering and affecting the autonomy of the university.  When the decision of dissolving the previous governing board was taken he was not informed about it.  According to Nitish, such an important decision was taken without informing the chancellor, raising a question on the autonomous behavior of the university.

On 25th November, George yeo submitted his resignation letter to the president Pranab Mukherjee, when NDA government decided to cancel the extension of time tenure of the vice chancellor Gopa Sabharwal.

Nitish, stated in his letter, that provisions concerned with the formulation of the governing body in the Nalanda University Act, 2010, were flawed and the central government wanted to amend the Act. "Therefore, the centre had requested the 'Nalanda Mentor Group' to continue functioning as the 'governing board' till the said Act could be amended. So far, there has been no amendment in the Act and yet a new governing body has been constituted by the centre without due consultation. This has affected the prestige and credibility of the university," Bihar CM said.
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

RSS- Backed Academicians Tipped to Head Nalanda University !!

Great Nalanda University
The Nalanda University, set up to become an international institution of national repute, is likely to get a right tilt as academicians with RSS affiliations are tipped to become chancellor and vice-chancellor (VC) of the varsity.

Chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, is the frontrunner to take over the reins of the varsity as its chancellor. The appointment of Rao, a history professor at the Kakatiya University in Telangana, as chairman of ICHR in 2014 invited criticism from professional historians who saw it as the Narendra Modi-led government’s attempt to rewrite history.

“The appointment of the chancellor is expected in January as his appointment is required for the VC’s appointment,” Ministry of External Affairs officials said. The process to appoint a VC started in November as the term of then VC Gopa Sabharwal was to end on November 24.

The university has received 160 applications for the position, and the frontrunners for the post are English and Foreign Language University’s VC Sunaina Singh, art historian and professor of Buddhist Studies at the International Academy of Indian Culture Nirmala Sharma, and Prof Makarand Paranjape of JNU.

Singh, in the dock for misuse of funds, is the choice of the RSS. Paranjape grabbed headlines for coming out against the Left during the nationalism controversy in JNU.
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nalanda University chancellor’s resignation unfortunate: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar !

Nitish Kumar said on Saturday that the resignation of former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo as the Nalanda University chancellor and the circumstances around the move were “unfortunate”.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Kumar dwelt on the “idea of Nalanda”, and said he will write about the issue to the Centre. The resignation of Yeo was not in the interest of the university and appeared to “infringe on its autonomy”, he said.

Yeo said he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change after the government reconstituted the board and severed Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s decade-long association with the university.

Kumar dwelt on the “idea of Nalanda”, and said he will write about the issue to the Centre. The resignation of Yeo was not in the interest of the university and appeared to “infringe on its autonomy”, he said.

“It is the Bihar government that conceptualised the idea of Nalanda…Many people were involved in it from the beginning, and Yeo was one of them,” Kumar said.

The chief minister also said the Nalanda University has a different character and the institute cannot be equated with other universities.

“It is an attempt to recreate ancient Nalanda, which epitomised knowledge and learning across the globe. The Nalanda spirit needs to be kept intact,” he said.

“There were talks about necessary amendments in the NU (Nalanda University) act, which did not happen though the board has been constituted. When Prof Amartya Sen (the first chancellor) was not given extension, it was understandable with the change of guard at the Centre.

“In Yeo, there was one person who had been with NU since the conceptualisation stage, but now he has also quit,” Kumar said.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nalanda University Gets New Governing Board !!

Nalanda University-Bihar( Design)
A day after Nalanda University asked university Vice-Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal to continue as interim vice-chancellor after her term ends on November 24 till her replacement is found, the President has cancelled the extension and dissolved the Nalanda Mentors’ Group to pave the way for a new governing board to be headed by the Chancellor.

Top sources The Hindu talked to said that the decision flowed from the fact that the Nalanda University Act, 2010, permits only a single one-year extension to the Vice-Chancellor, which ends on November 24.

The new governing board will be headed by the Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo and have the Vice-Chancellor and representatives of India, China, Australia, Laos and Thailand on it. Former Rajya Sabha MP and retired bureaucrat N.K. Singh is the India representative on the board.

“It is the prerogative of the government to reconstruct the board. They have done it in accordance with provisions,” Mr. NK Singh told The Hindu.

The Board will also have the Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, two members from the Bihar government, one representative from the Ministry of Human Resource Development at least of additional secretary rank and three “renowned academicians” – Professor Arvind Sharma from McGill University of Canada; Indian Council for Cultural Relations president professor Lokesh Chandra and Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Arvind Panagariya.

The senior-most dean will discharge the duties of the V-Chancellor after Dr. Sabharwal leaves.

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen – who quit as chancellor in 2015 – and academic and Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sugata Bose are no longer part of the Board.

Nalanda University was initially a Bihar government initiative to rebuild the renowned ancient seat of learning. The State government persuaded the Manmohan Singh government to take over the project. The Ministry of External Affairs – which is the administrative ministry of this university – constituted a Nalanda Mentors’ Group (NMG) to run it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nalanda University Chancellor resigns !!

George Yeo-Nalanda University
Former Singapore Foreign Minister and Chancellor of Nalanda University, George Yeo, resigned on Friday, saying the Centre had superseded the University’s Governing Board without taking him into confidence.

Eminent professors Amartya Sen, Sugata Bose and Lord Meghnad Desai were part of the board. Significantly, the resignation came on the university’s Foundation Day. In his letter, Mr. Yeo expressed concern at the turn of events which, he said, were likely to impact the autonomy of the university that has academics and students from the world over on its rolls.

‘Complete surprise’

Mr. Yeo said the November 21 order dissolving the Governing Board had come as “a complete surprise.” “I was neither involved in the preparation nor was consulted beforehand,” he said in the letter. When Mr. Yeo took over from Prof. Sen last year, he was repeatedly assured that the university would retain its autonomy, he said. “This appears not to be the case now. With deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Visitor,” Mr. Yeo wrote.

“When I was appointed the Chancellor in July 2016, I was told that a new Governing Board would be formed under an amended act, core aspects of which the Ministry of External Affairs sought my views on.

“The amended Act would have removed a major flaw in the current Act, which, in essence, offers Governing Board seats to East Asian Summit countries, making the highest financial contributions in the last three years. The provision was never recommended by the Nalanda Mentor Group,” he said.

“For reasons not entirely clear to me, the Government of India has decided to form the new Governing Board with immediate effect before the Act was amended. Pending the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, the incumbent Dr. Gopa Sabbarwal was to stay on as the interim Vice-Chancellor to ensure that there is no hiatus in the leadership of the university,” he wrote.

However, on Tuesday, the Visitor overruled the Governing Board and directed that the senior-most dean be appointed instead.

“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and is harmful to the University’s development,” Mr. Yeo said.

Reacting to the resignation, former Harvard Professor and Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose said: “Yeo has done a dignified thing under the most aggravating circumstances. The basic courtesy of informing him about the decisions was not extended to him.”

“It is with sadness that we need to ponder whether this kind of behaviour helps in enhancing our prestige in the comity of East Asian Countries,” Prof. Bose added.

Founded in 2010, the university was the brainchild of the previous UPA government and the Nalanda Mentor Group was formed to set up the international university.

The Nalanda University Act 2010 was passed by Parliament and came into force on November 25, 2010. The newly-constituted Board will have the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, five members from the member states of India, China, Australia, Laos and Thailand. Former bureaucrat and BJP member N. K. Singh has been nominated as the Indian representative to the Board.
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