Bengal Assembly Passes Bill To Improve State Higher Education

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Kolkata: West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill, 2017 was on Thursday passed in the state assembly in the absence of opposition Congress and Left Front members. The Bill aims to ensure an improved administration and ideal environment in the state’s higher education system.

The Congress and Left MLAs continued their boycott of the house for the second day today in protest against the alleged assault of the Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan on Wednesday and held joint protests outside it. Mannan took ill in the house while being evicted by the marshall and was hospitalised.

Tabling the bill state Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the government does not have any intention of political interference in academic institutions. He was confident it would help improve functioning of the state-aided universities and government-aided colleges in Bengal.

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The bill, the minister said, was necessary to improve the standard of higher education in the state and would bring about a certain uniformity and standardisation in the rules, practices and procedures of these educational institutions.

It would clearly define the rights and duties of the various stakeholders and bring in greater responsibility, transparency and accountability among the managements and employees of the publicly-funded higher education institutions to achieve an efficent and vibrant higher education system in West Bengal.

The bill would enable the state government too to have certain powers and control over the governing bodies of all government-aided colleges in respect of their constitution, powers and functions, the minister said. Citing instances of financial and administrative irregularities in different universities and colleges, Chatterjee said the bill would empower vice-chancellors and principals to maintain discipline and accountability of the employees.

As per the Bill there would be performance appraisal reports and submission of annual declaration of assets by all the employees of the colleges and universities. Provident fund of the employees of the colleges and universities would now be maintained in the government treasury, he said.