Anxiety in Visva-Bharati as NAAC team visits university

Dissent against Vice Chancellor high among staff might lead to a poor score again

Visva-Bharati is holding its breath at the moment as a team appointed by the NAAC, or National Assessment and Accreditation Council, is currently vising the university for assessing the quality of its education.

The NAAC assesses and accredits higher education institutions every five years and during the last assessment, the Santiniketan-based Visva-Bharati had narrowly missed the A grade. On a four-point scale, a minimum score of 3 is required to be rated A, whereas the university had scored 2.82.

“I think all of us, irrespective of who is in support of or against the Vice-Chancellor, are very eager that we impress the visiting team because the NAAC rating decides bringing of projects to the university, the kind of facilities that should be set up here, and the awards people receive,” a senior teacher told The Hindu, asking not to be named.

“Last time, in 2015, differences between the then Vice-Chancellor and some members of the faculty had reflected on the rating. I think this time everybody understands that a poor rating will only impact the future of the university and not that of the V-C,” the teacher said.

But dissent is already being conveyed to the visiting team. A group from the university has already written anonymously to the head of the team with a list of complaints against Prof. Bidyut Chakrabarty, the current V-C. “Vice-Chancellor, Visva-Bharati has violated the Government directive to open up the university and hostels and to start offline classes at all levels of graduation and post-graduation,” the note, widely being circulated on social media, said. According to the students, Central universities, such as Visva-Bharati, are bound to follow the orders of respective State Governments in this regard.

“Vice-Chancellor illegally suspended three students for 9 months and ultimately rusticated them. But subsequently, Hon’ble High Court set aside the rustication order of the university. But till date the university did not communicate with the students about the revoking of their rustication. There are many issues of students which the Vice-Chancellor did not address at all. He never ever met students. It is a farce to arrange the NAAC visit without any students on the campus, despite clear Government directive to open up the university and hostels. Vice-Chancellor so far suspended, terminated, demoted, issued charge-sheets and show-cause notices, to at least 300 teaching and non-teaching staff of the university,” the note further said.

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