Saturday, January 30, 2016

Search Starts for Next Nalanda Vice-Chancellor !!

The next governing board (GB) meeting of Nalanda University, scheduled to be held on January 29-30, will be a key one with the government keen on beginning its search for a new vice-chancellor, who will succeed Gopa Sabharwal.

The GB, which was earlier called the Nalanda Mentors Group, will meet in Rajgir, Bihar, where it will also decide on the composition of the next GB.

Gopa Sabharwal
When contacted by The Sunday Standard, a Nalanda University spokesperson denied that the issue of selecting the next vice-chancellor was on the agenda of the governing board. However, sources have clearly indicated that while the vice-chancellor will propose the agenda, efforts will be made to ensure that the selection process begins at the meeting.

In October, the GB had given an extension to Sabharwal ahead of the expiration of her term in November. Sabharwal got an extension up to one year or till the appointment of the next vice-chancellor, as per the Nalanda University Act 2010.

Sources said that the GB will be asked to set up a search committee, which will propose three names for consideration to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Visitor to the University. This process should not take more than three months.

Sabharwal, who has supporters in the GB, could be named as one of the three candidates, but the final decision will be taken by the President. Another important item on the agenda will be for members to decide the composition of future GBs of the university. “There will be some tweaking, but it will not be a major deviation. This will be incorporated in the Amendment Bill, which the government may be finally introduced in the next session,” said an official.

As per the university spokesperson, the “agenda (of the GB) includes discussion on all provisions of the Amendment Bill”.

The UPA government had tabled the Nalanda University Amendment Bill in September 2013, but it was then referred to the Standing Committee. The Bill covers all aspects to operate the university from its special privileges to the recruitment of officials to sources of financial resources. The report of the standing committee was released in December 2013.

When the NDA government came to power, the Amendment Bill remained in the deep freezer, with the ministry mulling its status. Last year, there was a change in helm at the top with former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo taking over from Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as chancellor of the university. “Naturally, we wanted to consult with the chancellor about his views on the Amendment Bill,” said the official.
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