Chancellor of Choice by Chance

Arlekar shows how governors can make a difference

This time, the state of Bihar under the Union of India proved luckiest among all where the President of India recently appointed governors and Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, a Goa-born politician, having long experience of practical politics as speaker of Goa Assembly, cabinet minister, different party posts within the state and outside, was appointed the Governor of Bihar and assumed the assigned duty on February 17.

Before joining the state of Bihar, he was the governor of Himachal Pradesh from 13 July 2021 to 16 February 2023, where he introduced many innovative ideas to put the education system on rail honestly, proving himself as a man of integrity, wide vision and determination who never tolerates injustice, corruption or otherwise influencing means in performing pious duties related to the assignment.

Since becoming Governor, in the capacity as Chancellor of Universities, he gave a strong message to the universities of the state by stopping the powers of seven Registrars, Finance Officer, Financial Advisors, and a few others, appointed by his predecessor, Fagu Chauhan, who shifted to Meghalaya in the same capacity, but notified these appointments after notification issued by the central government.

Maximum application of modern technology, supervision through e-governance, promotion of computer-based programmes for teachers, timely election of statutory bodies, strict supervision of university funds, review of UG/PG syllabus and examination system, focus on genuine research with interdisciplinary approach, promotion of national and international seminars, conferences as well as development of several skill development programmes are some of the spheres where the new chancellor should look first to provide the institutions basics and put the derailed system on right track

His active role and interest in university affairs, made a history when he decided to preside over the meeting of university Senate first in the Jaya Prakash University, Chapra followed by Purnea University, Purnea. His honest, active role and interest in improving decades-old cancer-like major and minor diseases of the higher education, prevailing in universities for at least two decades, have created sky-high hopes in public, and intelligentsia in particular, that a golden era of higher education is in the pipeline and soon the dream of an ideal higher education, as against the previous ‘Dark Age’, will come out in the form of reality.

As we all are aware, the prospective vision of a chancellor is closely related to the faultless functioning of universities and the fate of higher education where millions of students are getting regular or technical education with multiple dreams and visions in their eyes which have been blurred in some past years.

Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, is the son of the late Vishwanath Arlekar and Mrs  Tilomattama Arlekar, was born on 23 April 1954, at Panaji, the capital of Goa. His school teachers and college professors remember him as a very bright student. He completed his matriculation from St. Joseph’s Institute, Vasco Da Gama, Goa and graduated in Commerce (BCom) from MES College, Vasco Da Gama, Goa. From the beginning, he was interested in listening to classical music, Marathi light music and watching plays. From childhood he was associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh but joined the Bhartiya Janata Party in 1989 at the age of 35 and  remained an active member of the Goa BJP along with holding several party posts which include General Secretary of BJP of Goa Pradesh, Chairman, Goa Industrial Development Corporation, Chairman, Goa State Scheduled Castes and other Backward Classes Financial Development Corporation, and South Goa BJP President. After seeing his consistency and commitment to making people’s lives easier, he was given an opportunity in 2002 to serve both the people and the party as member of the Goa Legislative Assembly where his ideologies, opinion in regards to social service, environment, and social development attracted everyone and the party as well. As a result, he was appointed as the speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly and continued there in office from 16 March 2012 to 1 October 2015.

Again, this period of three years proved for him a boon where Goa did better in respect of education rate, climate conditions and addition and modification of state policies. In this phase of life, he worked tirelessly and took all decisions keeping in view the maximum welfare of common people and society and ultimately the historic moment came when the Legislative Assembly of Goa became the first paperless assembly in the country under his guidance and leadership. From October 2015 to 2017 he was the Minister of Forest, Environment, and the Panchayat of Goa in the ministry of Laxmikant Parsekar.

Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, the new Governor-cum-Chancellor of universities, has joined the state at a very critical juncture when the New Education Policy 2020 is to be introduced and implemented effectively to give a new direction in all walks of the system. In a state where the old system of education is on the right track, the problem is smaller; however, in states like Bihar, it is a herculean task as it urgently requires overhauling of examination, academic, administrative and  financial spheres to meet the challenges and find a long-term /durable solution in the interest of time to come.

Of all, the regularization of academic session of different faculties in all universities of the state are not equal and are lagging behind one to three years their scheduled timing, although, in last one year and more the government machinery is watching closely the state of the examination system, and other aspects like academic, administrative and  financial have become a mess mainly due to mismanagement and corruption from top to bottom. Omnipresent and omniscient effects of money power have marred the higher education system in previous years, paralyzing the whole structure for which they were/are established. Absence of any strict, effective and honest supervision at higher levels have largely lacked pious intentions and effective steps to get rid of the existing dark age.

Next to regularization of academic sessions, accreditation of universities and colleges from NAAC is second to none, as not only funding but quality of research and teaching and innovative methods totally depend on NAAC grading. It gave accreditation for a limited period and its renewal/continuation will help institutions maintain quality education and transparency in public.

However, maximum application of modern technology, supervision through e-governance, promotion of computer-based programmes for teachers, timely election of statutory bodies, strict supervision of university funds, review of UG/PG syllabus and examination system, focus on genuine research with interdisciplinary approach, promotion of national and international seminars, conferences as well as development of several skill development programmes are some of the spheres where the new chancellor should look first to provide the institutions basics and put the derailed system on right track.

Dr Rajkumar Singh
Dr Rajkumar Singh
The writer is head of the political science department of the B.N.Mandal University, Madhepura, Bihar, India and can be reached at [email protected]

Must Read

International media uncovers issues faced by Muslims in Modi’s India

ISLAMABAD: A recent DW - a German media outlet - special documentary has shed light on the persistent issues of discrimination, violence and marginalization...