A full year since becoming the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of unarguably the most politically charged university in the country, Kumar finds himself in the eye of a storm, during which he has been accused of cutting the admission seats and called a “Sanghi”—a follower of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology—by the agitating students.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) notification adopted by the university entails an upper cap on the number of students a faculty member can guide. But as Kumar observed,
So, how could the clause of upper cap be applied without cutting down the number of students?
Kumar says that those faculty members with “excess of students” will not get any new students until the existing ones pass out, and additional vacancies are created. He emphasises that even after allocating students across the faculty, including among those who have none or less than what is prescribed now, there will still be excess students pursuing Ph.Ds and M.Phils.
“In Ph.D it takes time to complete the thesis. If we keep on admitting the same number of students, let’s assume, in five years there will be about 150 students. Where will they go? No university does that,” he added.
“I have no clue why they think so, you need to ask them,” says Kumar about the protesting teachers. He adds that “UGC is the funding agency for all central universities” and that “we are paying far more fellowship amount than what UGC gives us because of the excess of students, whereas it gives us a fixed amount”.
One of the issues which students list with the capping clause is not having any freedom to choose their guide themselves, which is chosen according to the specialty” of the professor and “research topic” of the students, as one student leader told IANS earlier.
“If a students comes to me and says that he wants to do a Ph.D. in analog electronics, and if I don’t have a faculty member with a vacancy under him in that department, I may ask him to pursue a Ph.D. in digital electronics. He may choose to do so or he may not. In the latter case, he’ll look for some other institute where there is a vacancy in his chosen field. This is the norm everywhere,” he explained.
“People are entitled to their opinions. They are free to call me anything, it won’t turn me into that. I have no political affiliations. I am just an academician focused on my research and committed to my students,” Kumar said.