Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that the retirement age for teachers in colleges and universities will be increased from 62 to 65 — 70 years in the case of vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors.
The chief minister was delivering the convocation address during the annual convocation of Calcutta University at Nazrul Mancha.
“We have taken a decision to increase the retirement age of professors in colleges and universities to 65 years from 62. Retirement age of vice chancellors and pro vice-chancellors has been increased to 70 years,” she said.
Poll mode: Reaching out to teachers
The state government’s decision to increase the retirement age of professors in colleges and universities can be seen as an attempt to win over the teaching fraternity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In January 2017, the Mamata Banerjee government had increased the retirement age of professors to 62 from 60. The Trinamool Congress, which has generally enjoyed the support of the academic community, is likely to continue to do so in the coming polls, said a political observer.
Mamata said a Chair each will be instituted in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at Calcutta University. She also said she will lay the foundation stone of Kanyashree University in Nadia on January 10.
The chief minister criticised Presidency and Jadavpur Universities for “lack of courtesy” displayed towards Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and others. “There are some big universities here and we love them. But I was shocked to see that Presidency University wanted Raj Bhawan as the venue to hold its convocation. On the other hand, Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi went to Jadavpur University, but students refused to accept certificates from him. Why such lack of courtesy? I believe in politics of displaying courtesy,” she said.
Mamata urged students and researchers to preserve history and ensure it is not changed due to political ideologies. “The freedom and autonomy of educational institutions must not be curbed. In Bengal, which is the land of great personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and others, we must uphold the idea of unity,” she said.
During the convocation, the university conferred an honourary DLitt on former state Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Gandhi said it was of vital importance to exercise freedom of thought and expression.
“Fear is a great evil and is completely inconsistent with democracy and republicanism. Those who have the capacity to think as all of us do have a responsibility to think with responsibility and in complete freedom and to write with freedom without being bullied by anybody. Fear and democracy do not go together,” said the former governor.