In growth mode, varsity bats for VC

Amid the lingering uncertainty over the fate of the state's vice-chancellors, there is a growing clamour to retain Shambhu Nath Singh in the post at Patna University (PU).

Students, teachers and employees' associations of PU have made a strong pitch in support of Singh and have submitted a joint memorandum to Governor Devanand Konwar, the chancellor of the state's universities, and to the chief minister's secretariat with a plea that he remain in the post.

The three unions ' Patna University Teachers' Association, Patna University Students' Union and Patna University Employees' Union ' along with deans of university departments and principals of colleges affiliated to PU submitted the memorandum around a week ago.

The memorandum lists some of the achievements of VC Singh such as conducting entrance tests in undergraduate courses, introduction of the semester system at the post-graduate level, organising elections to the students' union after nearly three decades, appointment of teachers at College of Art and Crafts, starting computerised evaluation of answer sheets for the first time, organising a series of lectures by eminent personalities of the country, launching numerous courses in the university and setting up a gender sensitisation cell at the institution.

Khagendra Kumar, dean, education, PU, said: "I have teaching experience at Patna University for the past 17 years and during this period I have worked with many VCs. I believe the present VC at least has a vision for academic growth of the university."

Detractors of the VC say many of Singh's initiatives are hanging fire. A senior teacher at Magadh Mahila College, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "Last year the university administration started the process of computerised evaluation of answer sheets but it failed. The results of the graduation exams were, therefore, delayed."

The newly elected members of Pusu, too, have demanded that Singh be retained but some of them are unhappy with his style of functioning. "The present VC has done a lot of work for the academic improvement at Patna University but he should change his autocratic attitude," said Abhishek Gupta, treasurer of the students' union.

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