Dr Makaju reappointed as VC of KUPrime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also the chancellor of Kathmandu University, reappointed Dr Ram Kanth Makaju as the vice-chancellor of the varsity on Friday.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also the chancellor of Kathmandu University, reappointed Dr Ram Kanth Makaju as the vice-chancellor of the varsity on Friday.
Dr Makaju had completed his earlier four-year term as KU VC on December 11.
Appointment of VC at KU had become a contentious issue as different names were floated for the post. After search committee—led by Education Minister Dhaniram Poudel with Suresh Raj Sharma and Daman Nath Dhungana as members—tasked with recommending the name for VC failed to reach unanimity, it had on January 6 recommended five persons, including Makaju, for the post.
Sharma is former KU VC and Dhungana in chairman of the Board of Trustees of the varsity.
The other individuals recommended by the search committee were Janardan Lamichhane, Bhola Thapa, Bhadra Man Tuladhar and Mana Prasad Wagle.
PM Dahal, however, decided to pick Dr Makaju following discussions with Poudel, Sharma and Dhungana on Friday morning.
Minister Poudel and Kathmandu University Professors’ Association had been rooting for Lamichhane, who is the head of biotechnology department of the varsity. Lamichhane is said to be close to leaders of the CPN (Maoist Centre). During the meeting, Sharma and Dhungana had urged PM Dahal to reappoint Dr Makaju. Dr Sharma, who himself had served as the VC for over two decades, was of the opinion that Dr Makaju should be given one more term to materalise his plans.
Dr Makaju’s reappointment, many believe, has come with strings attached. PM Dahal is learnt to have shown interest in granting affiliation to B&C Medical College in Jhapa to run MBBS programmes.
Plans to grant affiliation to B&C Medical College, however, had hit a snag Dr Govinda KC’s hunger strike. One of the demands of Dr KC is stopping affiliation to new medical colleges until the Health Education Profession Bill is endorsed.
It is said that Dr Makaju’s appointment was made as part of quid-pro-quo deal—that Dr Makaju as the KU VC would facilitate the process to allow B&C Medical College to run MBBS course as KU’s “extended programme”, a controversial concept that apparently is akin to granting affiliation.
Dr Makaju in December had told the Post that he had heard about “excellent infrastructure” of B&C Medical College. He, however, had denied any political pressure to grant affiliation to the college.
Many within KU were against giving Dr Makaju a second term.
“Dr Makaju is more focused on the medical school which itself is riddled with controversy,” said a senior KU official requesting anonymity. “Other schools under the varsity have suffered through neglect.” Others fear Dr Makaju might initiate action against officials who had lobbied for other candidates.