Goa University, an abysmal administrative failure

Goa University, an abysmal administrative failure

The Goa University, once among the top institutions in the country, is in a mess. The previously gradual decay gained momentum in recent years. However, the media nor is the Goa Legislative Assembly raising any questions about the accusations of scams and scandals in the university.

The Goa University Teachers Association staged a protest this week to protest the intimidation and assault of the director of the Directorate of Student Welfare Professor Anthony Viegas by a student activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Apart from the issue of salary increment, this is the first time the Teachers Association has agitated in the university. This action of the teachers caused an internal dispute in the university.

Goa University’s autonomy was already threatened by the mismanagement of the university. Now, fed up with the state of affairs, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant announced a constitutional change to make the education minister the pro-vice-chancellor of the university.

Apart from this loss of autonomy, other controversies in the university reveal shocking information. There is great dissatisfaction among the entire administration and teaching staff of the university.

Last month, the university suspended the assistant registrar (Law) Vardha D’Mello from service. D’ Mello knocked on the doors of the High Court against the order. The court upheld the dismissal as unconstitutional and reinstated her to the same post, bringing serious pressure on the functioning of the university.

Professor of Chemistry Dr Vivekananda Gobre was dismissed from his job by setting aside the report of the sub-superintendent of his branch and humiliating the senior sub-superintendent as well. This issue is currently sub judice.

Also, the court castigated the university over the scam in Kare Law College's entrance examination.

Recently, the convocation ceremony of the university was held under the chairmanship of President of India Draupadi Murmu. Within 24 hours of the ceremony, the registrar of examinations and former vice-principal of the government college chain Professor Ashok Chodankar had submitted his resignation.

Not even a year into his post, he’d brought qualitative improvement in examination results as well as in their planning. He is considered a skilled and efficient administrator.

Also, Sachin Sambhaji, who was appointed deputy registrar by the university, also resigned. Two more top officials of the university are on the verge of resigning as well.

The university administration has completely collapsed, but Vice-Chancellor Professor Harilal Menon is on a foreign tour. There is a feeling in the teaching and administrative community that Professor Menon gives special treatment to persons he favours.

A few years ago Manohar Parrikar School of Law, Governance and Public Policy, which includes the disciplines of Law, Public Administration, Women's Studies, Social Work, Tribal Studies and Disability Studies, was established as a tribute to the late chief minister of Goa.

A professor with no knowledge of law, governance and women's studies has been appointed as the dean of the school. Professors to teach the various courses have not been recruited despite advertising vacancies. Now technical courses are being introduced by reorganising the school.

By setting aside the requirement of a residence certificate, compulsory knowledge of the Konkani language and the reserved roster system, today, there is an entire generation educated in the university which holds professorships.

When Professor Menon took over the university, the university fell in the NAAC ranking. Professor Menon chose to blame all and sundry for the university’s woes, verbally abusing junior professors, admonishing them for their lack of academic accomplishments and threatening the denial of child care and study leave.

Even the senior professors have a bone to pick with the vice-chancellor. It is speculated that Professor Ashok Chodankar voluntarily resigned due to the volatile behaviour of the vice-chancellor.

Various complaints have been sent to the Directorate of Higher Education, the chief minister and the governor regarding the functioning of the present leadership of the university. CM Pramod Sawant’s earlier spat with Governor Satya Pal Malik is perhaps causing him to take a cautious stance regarding the university.

Will the decline of the university pave the way for private universities? Various private universities are eager to set up their campuses in Goa, this is no secret.

Although Goa University is the preferred destination for foreign students in India, the lower NAAC accreditation has led to foreign students turning their backs on the university.

Last year, the Maharashtra Institute of Technology organised the Youth Parliament programme in association with the government. It was given strong financial support.

Many private organisations have their eyes on Goa. The idea that this is a conspiracy to set up a private alternative to Goa University could very well be true.