Dharmendra opposes amendment to Odisha Universities Act

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 15 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister on Tuesday opposed the Odisha Universities Amendment Ordinance 2020 and sought intervention of Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank to safeguard the interest of the students, faculty and staff.

In a letter to the Education Minister, Pradhan said the ordinance is contrary to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi enshrined in the New Education Policy 2020 to promote autonomy of academic institutions to pursue excellence in teaching and research.

He said the state government had passed an ordinance on September 4 to amend the Odisha Universities Act, 1989 without any discussion in the state legislative Assembly.

“This unprecedented amendment which seeks to completely upend the higher education ecosystem in Odisha has come under wide and harsh criticism from the state’s academic community due to the drastic and regressive changes implemented,” he added.

The minister said that he has received representation from academicians who have highlighted some issues in the higher education system due to the recent amendments.

Highlighting the points, the letter mentioned that the government has stripped the autonomy of the universities by amending the Act and repealing the Ravenshaw University Act 2005 and bringing them under government control.

The government has replaced the important role and functions of the apex senate body with the bureaucratic syndicate body, which will be effectively run by government appointed nominees.

The amendment has also restricted the search and appointment of the vice-chancellor by the forced entry of a nominee in the search committee and further constraining it to a limited number of non-academic candidates, the letter said.

“These changed promulgated by the government of Odisha are in contradiction of extant practices in other states and with education being a concurrent subject, incongruous with central government policies,” said the Minister.

–IANS
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