The Hindu University of Benares is in the process of transforming its administrative apparatus into a more effective, responsive and efficient apparatus. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sudhir Kumar Jain, has set up a three-member committee to review and rethink the current structure and functioning of the administration and come up with measures to improve its responsiveness and efficiency.
As part of the consultations, an open house session on “System, Culture and Values in University Governance” was held in the Senate Chamber of Swatantrata Bhavan. The committee chaired by Sh. Pawan Agrawal, (Retd. IAS) Former Secretary to the Government of India, interacted with directors, deans and senior officials of the university and solicited their suggestions in light of current challenges. Sh. Parag Prakash, former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, Government of India, and Sh. RD Sahai, former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of India, are members of the committee. Dr. Sunita Chandra, Co-Registrar, who is the Committee Secretary, led the open house.
Interacting with BHU members, Mr. Pawan Agrawal said that BHU has no shortage of talented and capable people, however, there is more need to better utilize their collective potential. He said institutional integrity is of utmost importance and there should be zero tolerance for lack of integrity. He felt that trust between different segments of the university, whether students, teaching staff or non-teaching staff, is very important. He added that while working for any institution, one should move forward with a problem-solving approach and results orientation. Mr. Agrawal stressed the importance of strengthening the internal communication system at the university. He said students must be at the center of the functioning of any educational institution and any deviation from this cannot be accepted.
The keynote speaker of the session, Prof. Rajeev Sangal, renowned academic administrator, former director of IIT-BHU and former vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, shared his thoughts on how to make the functioning of an effective and efficient university. He said that the functioning of a university depends on three layers which are systems and processes, culture and values. Professor Sangal said that focusing on all three levels is essential to establish a good system that helps to move the institution forward and make it excel in the long term. He highlighted several important aspects such as dialogue among voters, joint decision-making, redressing grievances, creating a positive atmosphere, etc. to develop a healthy work culture in the institution.
Chairing the session, the Rector, Prof. VK Shukla, said that as times change, institutions must also change. He said that it was the vision of the Honorable Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain that brought about the ongoing process of administrative reforms. He expressed his confidence that the Hindu University of Benares is about to reach new heights of growth and glory with such reforming measures. Prof. Mukul Raj Mehta presented the vision of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain, and highlighted areas where greater attention is needed. He said Professor Jain has repeatedly said that students must be at the heart of the functioning of the university.
Later in the day, the committee also visited the Mahila Mahavidyalaya and interacted with college students and faculty. Committee members asked the students what challenges they face in their studies and in using the facilities available to them. They also asked for student suggestions to make things smooth and convenient so that their education and research time is not wasted.
The committee visited various offices and departments and had interactions with various stakeholders in order to propose measures and better administrative organization.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sudhir Kumar Jain reiterated the need to have a strong and responsive administrative structure of the university in order to save valuable faculty and student time and effort that could otherwise be used to achieve academic and research excellence. The exercise of introducing administrative reforms at the Hindu University of Benares is an important step in this regard.