JNU and Pune University vice-chancellors among frontrunners to become next UGC chairman

India News

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof M Jagadesh Kumar is among the three names picked by a search-and-selection committee to become the next University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman.

The two other frontrunners for the key post are Pune University Vice-Chancellor Prof Nitin R Karmalkar and Director of Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) Prof Avinash Chandra Pandey, sources said.

The post of the UGC chairman fell vacant on December 7 after Prof D P Singh, who had taken charge in 2018, resigned upon turning 65. The post of the vice-chairman of the higher education regulator is also vacant.

Higher Education Secretary K Sanjay Murthy is currently discharging duties as the chairman of UGC. The search for a new vice-chairman is also underway.

The shortlisting of Prof Kumar’s name assumes significance as he is also among the frontrunners to become the next director of IIT Delhi. His five-year tenure as JNU’s V-C had ended on January 26, but the Ministry of Education allowed him to continue holding the post till a successor was picked.

While Prof Kumar’s academic credentials are strong, with him being a prominent name in the field of electronic engineering, his tenure as JNU V-C has been marred by controversies and campus unrest.

Prof Karmalkar specialises in the field of research on igneous petrology, an important branch of geological sciences. He was appointed as Pune University’s V-C in May 2017. Prof Pandey, who was the V-C of Bundelkhand University between 2012-2015, is credited with the establishment of the Nanotechnology Application Centre in Allahabad University.

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