Dr Dharma Kant Banskota set to be appointed Tribhuvan University vice-chancellorThe education minister-led search committee will choose top officials among the applicants in the other seven universities
Ending speculations, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is set to appoint Dr Dharma Kant Banskota, former chairman of the National Medical Council, the vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University, according to officials.
Though the search committee headed by Education, Science and Technology Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel had placed him in the second position, Baskota is getting the position of the executive head of the oldest university because of his closeness with Oli, officials at the Education Ministry told the Post.
The Pokharel-led panel on October 4 recommended Dr Bhagwan Koirala, a noted cardiac surgeon, in the first place on the list of three candidates for the position.
The laws regulating Nepal’s universities authorise the prime minister, as ex-officio chancellor, to appoint the vice-chancellors from among the names recommended by search committees led by the education minister. Officials at the Education Ministry privy to the development say Dr Banskota will be appointed in a couple of days. “As per our information, the appointment was delayed because Dr Banskota was abroad for around two weeks,” said an official at the ministry on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss the matter with the media.
Dr Banskota returned home on Friday. Talking to the Post, he said he hadn’t received any formal information about the appointment. “I know I am one of the nominees but don’t know about the appointment,” he said. People, who accompanied him to his visit to Myanmar and Japan, said he had told that he is the next vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University.
Dr Banskota, a staunch supporter of then CPN-UML, is a professor at the Institute of Medicine under the university. He is also a close relative to President Bidya Devi Bhandari and hails from the home district of Oli—Jhapa. Banskota was appointed the chair of the council under the CPN-UML quota, which was Oli’s party before its merger with the CPN (Maoist Centre) to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
The official at the ministry said despite being appointed in the party quota his tenure in the council was a success without controversy.
Along with the Tribhuvan, seven other universities are without their executive and administrative heads since the third week of August. The search committees formed to recommend the names for other universities haven’t yet found appropriate persons to lead the universities.
Over 70 people have applied for the vice-chancellor, rector and registrar of the universities following the call from the search committees. The search committees, after evaluating the backgrounds of the applicants, will recommend the three names for each of the positions. “Unlike in the past, we are for recommending the candidates on the basis of merit,” Usha Jha, a member of the search committee, told the Post.
Ever since the second people's movement in 2006, appointments in the varsities have been made on political sharing. The party in leadership takes the highest number of top positions.
Four years ago, when Sushil Koirala was leading the government, the highest number of portfolios went to the Nepali Congress.
Vice-chancellors of Tribhuvan University, Purbanchal University, Nepal Sanskrit University, Far Western University and Lumbini Buddhist University were appointed on the Congress quota.
The CPN-UML, which last year merged with the CPN (Maoist Centre), had its share in Pokhara University and Mid-Western University, while Agriculture and Forestry University was allotted to the CPN (Maoist Centre). The Maoists also got the Open University later.