Decisions at Mumbai University on NAAC accreditation, promotion of teachers and streamlining the issue of alleged mismanagement of examinations and results will have to wait, as the annual senate meet scheduled to be held on Monday was cancelled on account of the model code of conduct being in force ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
However, this was not the case during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when a senate meet was conducted despite the then model code of conduct being in effect. “In 2014, the same situation had taken place. MU had submitted a letter to the then secretary of higher education and Election Commission, after which it was given the required permission.
We wrote a letter this time as well and asked the state government and Election Commission… but we received a letter from the higher education department stating that since there are non-governmental representatives in senate, owing to the model code of conduct, the senate meeting is not advisable to be held,” said Mumbai University Registrar Ajay Deshmukh.
A university notification dated March 22 said that a letter sent by state higher and technical education department on March 20 informed the varsity about the inability to hold the meeting citing the poll season and the model code of conduct. Another date for the senate meeting has not been announced yet.
According to provisions in the Maharashtra Public Universities Act 2016, a senate meeting is to be organized twice a year. However, in the academic year 2018-19, no senate meeting had taken place, keeping several student and management issues pending. All decisions at the senate are made by the senate chairpersons, the chancellor or in his absence, the vice chancellor and pro-vice chancellor. University’s budget was to be approved at the senate meeting, with discussions on fund allocation for different activities. This was the first senate meeting to be held with professor Suhas Pednekar as the Vice Chancellor.
“Budget was an important issue for the meeting. Apart from that, salary of employees, approval and promotion of teachers under Career Advancement Scheme has been pending, an issue I’ve been raising since a year. Across Maharashtra nearly 3000 teachers’ posts are vacant, which will also hamper the state of education,” said senate member and member of Mumbai University College Teachers’ Association Vaibhav Narawade.
“The falling standards of governance of university, mismanaged examinations and NAAC accreditation were some issues needing urgent attention. Due to absence of NAAC grade, many departments will not be receiving UGC grants. Some directions in this regard was expected by the VC in the meeting, which would have been his first senate meeting since taking over the position,” said senate member and a professor at Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, Bandra (West) Chandrakant Kulkarni.
State government is trying to approach education as an industry, and from a commercial point of view, alleged Maharashtra Navnirmam Vidyarthi Sena state vice president Santosh Gangurde. “Had the meeting taken place, it would have benefitted students and solved many grievances,” he added.
State Education Minister Vinod Tawde, secretary of State Higher and Technical Education Department Saurabh Vijay and Mumbai University vice-chancellor Dr Suhas Pednekar were not available for comment.