Different criteria applied for selection of vice-chancellor at TU and other universitiesEducation experts suggest adopting a competitive selection process in appointments across all varsities.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also the chancellor of Tribhuvan University, appointed Dr Dharma Kant Banskota as the university vice-chancellor on Sunday.
Oli chose Banskota from among three names recommended by a search committee led by Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel.
The search committee had recommended the names without adopting any selection measures. Dr Bhagwan Koirala, a noted cardiac surgeon, and Chandra Mani Poudel, chairman of the National Examination Board, were the other two candidates.
To select vice-chancellors for six other universities, search committees, all led by Pokharel, have called applications from the aspirants. The committees will recommend names from among the applicants who have presented their work plans, along with their curriculum vitae.
This shows that a different yardstick has been adopted for Tribhuvan University and others, although all of them have the same legal status.
“We recommended the three names after brainstorming, although we didn’t call for applications like other committees,” Dilli Raj Sharma, a member of the search committee for Tribhuvan University appointment, told the Post. Sharma is also the dean of the management stream at the university.
“It’s true that the selection process in TU was different from the other universities,” he said.
The universities’ laws authorise prime minister, as an ex-officio chancellor, to appoint vice-chancellors from among the three names recommended by the search committees. It is up to the search committees how they select the three names.
Usha Jha, who represents the search committees formed to select vice-chancellors in three other universities, said they decided to call applications and work plans in an attempt to make appointments on merit basis.
“We want to end the earlier practice of handpicking,” Jha had told the Post last week. She said more than 70 aspirants have submitted their applications and work plans.
Education experts, however, say since all the universities have the same legal status, there should be uniformity in the selection process. The competitive selection process has to be adopted even for the Tribhuvan University which has more than 80 percent of enrolment of university students, they say.
Min Bista, a member of the High-Level National Education Commission, said handpicking of the officials at the universities is one of the reasons behind the deteriorating university education system in the country.
“Only those who have the vision to reform the universities should be appointed as vice-chancellors, rectors and registrars,” Bista told the Post.
He said candidates who want to lead the universities should demonstrate how they plan to take the university forward during their four years’ tenure and that has to be a key qualification for appointments.
According to Bista, experience as a lecturer alone is not enough for a vice-chancellor’s position, which demands leadership skills. “Those who are experienced don’t necessarily have the leadership quality,” he added.
Tritha Khaniya, who retired as the TU vice-chancellor two months ago, was accused by a Turkish professor of plagiarism in a research article even before he got appointed. Khaniya’s closeness with Nepali Congress that led the government at the time, was touted as the prime reason that swung his appointment.