Kolkata: The state government on Thursday passed the controversial West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill-2017 in the Assembly after Congress and Left Front MLAs boycotted the session.
BJP MLAs who were present in the House did not protest, though party MLA Dilip Ghosh said the government should have simplified some points in the new Bill. Members of various teachers’ organisations had raised objections to the Bill, saying the state government was trying to compromise the autonomy of colleges and universities by making several changes.
The state government had earlier said only “eminent educationists” would be nominated as the president of college governing bodies. However, in the new Bill, the government has replaced this with a “person interested in education”. According to educationists, his move will throw open the doors for elected representatives of the ruling party to get nominated as governing body presidents.
Asserting that the Bill was proposed to protect the sanctity of educational institutions, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said: “There are several universities which have been plagued by serious issues including financial irregularities. It was essential for the state government to intervene in a bid to protect the universities. The government cannot let universities violate UGC-prescribed rules. The government is respectful towards teachers and professors, and some of the points raised by them will be looked into with care.”