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Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan asks VCs to keep focus on teaching-learning duty

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan asks VCs to keep focus on teaching-learning duty thumbnail

A day after the ministry of education attempted to defuse the crisis at Visva Bharti University, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan sought to remind vice chancellors of central universities of their primary teaching-learning duty.

During his interaction with VCs, Pradhan advised them to be more ‘accommodative’ and ‘flexibile’ in keeping with the democratic ethos.

The minister also asked all varsities to fill up vacant posts by October.

On Thursday, the ministry had intervened on the ongoing student agitation at Visva Bharti varsity and advised VC Bidyut Chakraborty to set up an internal committee with senior faculty members to resolve the crisis.

It also asked the VC to disburse salary and pension and to continue the admission process and declaration of results wherever due.

The varsity has been witnessing student agitation since August 28, after its executive council decided to expel three students for their role in the vandalism at the varsity in January. Students have gheraoed the VC’s residence since then. Education minister Pradhan also took up the matter with West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is also the rector of the university, to defuse the crisis. The issue reached the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday with the Vishva Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) seeking his intervention to resolve the crisis. The PM is the chancellor of the university.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered that the protesting students immediately vacate the area around the VC’s house and allow staffers to enter it. “The court observed that the students have the right to protest and they should protest in an “orderly’ manner,” a lawyer said. The court has said that the students must not protest within 50 metres of the VC’s residence.

The university authorities had moved the Calcutta High Court seeking intervention in clearing the protest site.

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