Presidency University students demand scrapping of West Bengal education bill

Kolkata: The Presidency University Students' Union, comprising members of SFI, IC and AISA, on Wednesday demanded the varsity should not go by the West Bengal government's decision to implement an apolitical students' council model in the premier institution. Registrar Debajyoti Konar told reporters, "the university authorities will hold talks with students from 3 - 10 September to discuss certain provisions" of the said Act, called Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill-2017 and the possible grey areas.

File image of Presidency University. Image Courtesy: Presidency  University website

File image of Presidency University. Image Courtesy: Presidency University website

"But the Act in totality is a mandate and not negotiable," Konar asserted.

"This Act had been passed in the Assembly and notification issued by the Higher Education department and not framed by the university. We have to ultimately implement the same. But we will certainly hear from the students about their views on the Act and try to address their concern," he said. Asked about the stand taken by Jadavpur University Executive Council (EC) about drafting a resolution conveying the students' sentiments to the Higher Education department, Konar said, "Jadavpur University  did it in the way it deemed fit. The two institutions functioning may not be the same."

"Further the existing students' union regulations in Jadavpur University and Presidency University are different. So there can't be same comparative analysis," he said. Subho Ganguly, one of the leaders of Presidency University Students' Union, said, "The diktat of the state government for constituting an apolitical council on lines of St Xavier's student council model will hurt Presidency's autonomy and harm the democratic tradition of students to question."

"We went to meet the Registrar to air our concerns and it was decided there will be an open meeting between 3 to 10 September in which the VC, Registrar, Controller, students' union representatives will be present to discuss the provisions of the Bill," Ganguly said.

"The proposed council will be nothing more than a puppet at the hands of administration," another union member Arkoprobho Dutta said. On 11 August, the SFI members had gheraoed the Dean of Students for some hours at Presidency University in protest against the Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill-2017 which was lifted after Konar intervened.

Updated Date: Aug 17, 2017 08:33 AM

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