Odisha Higher Education Minister Clarifies On Amended Universities Act

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Bhubaneswar: Higher education minister Arun Kumar Sahoo clarified on the amendment of the Odisha Universities Act, 1989, on Sunday. Speaking on the matter, he said that the amended Act will not curtail the autonomy of the universities. Through a webinar, the minister discussed the different aspects of the amendment.

Sahoo said the upper age limit of the vice-chancellors has been increased from 65 years to 67 years. Tenure of the VCs has also been hiked from three years to four years.

“It will help VCs in bringing long term change in universities. The chancellor does not need a recommendation of the state government. Out of three names, he/she will choose a name for the VC post. That’s why we can say that the state government does not play any role in selecting VCs,” he mentioned.

As per the amendment, now teachers will be appointed through the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC). “OPSC has been roped in to recruit teachers for universities in a transparent manner in order to save time and money of the universities. The number of universities is on the rise in the state and the process for holding teacher recruitment is getting delayed. Keeping this situation in mind, the amendment was done,” Sahoo was quoted by The Times of India.

Moreover, as per Sahoo, the state government has amended the Act to recruit non-teaching staff through State Selection Board (SSB). “Universities get huge number of applicants for these posts and it has become a humongous task for these institutions to hold recruitment. After getting respite from doing this recruitment task, the universities can focus on other quality works,” he added.

The minister also said that the audit reports of the universities will be uploaded on the respective university websites for public view.

“This is a good step to save lakhs of paper and money in publishing huge number of audit reports. Previously, it was available for members of legislative assembly. Public were not getting it. But now anybody can now go to the university website to read the audit reports. If anybody finds any issues with the reports, it can be discussed in the assembly.”

Speaking on the Senates about the universities lying defunct for years, Sahoo stated, “No meeting of Senate had been convened for years. It was there for namesake only. So the government repealed this Senate system. Syndicate is reorganised for better functioning. VC will be the chairperson of the university syndicate,” he added.

He said the government has repealed the Ravenshaw Universities Act, 2005, and brought all state public universities under one Act.

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