An extraordinary breakthrough occurred recently, especially at Delhi University, in the field of higher educational institutions in India. For many years, DU stood out from the majority of universities by not allowing the Vice-Chancellor for reappointment. Similarly, JNU, or Jawaharlal Nehru University, has widely recognised with this rule. But in a surprising move, the Union administration approved a revision to the DU Statutes and revived a nearly ten-year-old plan. This significant modification now permits the reappointment of the DU VC.
The effects that this choice may have on DU’s leadership and administration have been discussed and are a source of worry. The single-term DU VC appointment practice has been put in place to ensure diversity. A greater range of ideas at the top of these important universities looks to be opposite to the action. The change calls attention to the ongoing discussions about institutional leadership. The governance as well as the evolving higher education market in India.
In the past, the Statutes under the Delhi University Act firmly prohibited a second term for the Vice-Chancellor through re-appointment. According to the rule, the Vice-Chancellor might continue serving after the initial five-year tenure had ended until the government selected and appointed a replacement. However, a recent modification to Statute 11-F (4) was made by a gazette notification published on October 17.
This amendment essentially means that a sitting Vice-Chancellor, if interested in serving another term. They will not have to reapply and compete with other candidates. Reappointment of the DU VC now allows the incumbent Delhi University Vice-Chancellor to continue in the role if the government decides so, without opening the position for new applications. This change in the rules marks a shift in the process of selecting and retaining Vice-Chancellors within Delhi University. This provides a different perspective on leadership continuity in the institution.
Yogesh Singh, currently serving as vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi, stressed that this notion is not new during an interview with The Indian Express. He said, “This is not a new proposal. This was approved by the EC under the leadership of Dinesh Singh ji and has now been approved by the Visitor too.”
Instead, it received initial approval from the Executive Committee under the leadership of Dinesh Singh. It has now garnered the Visitor’s approval as well. The Visitor, in this context, refers to President Droupadi Murmu. She holds the authority to oversee matters related to all central universities.
When Yogesh Singh assumed his new position as Delhi University’s vice chancellor in September 2021, he still had over three years of service left on his original tenure. Discussions have been generated by a recent change to the regulations governing the Vice-Chancellor’s selection. Yogesh Singh will now officially be qualified as a reappointment of the DU VC when his present term expires in 2026. This is because of this modification.
This decision of reappointment of the DU VC reflects an emerging view of academic leadership that is no longer restricted by a strict tenure structure. In light of a Vice-Chancellor’s accomplishments and contributions, it permits a more flexible approach. The academic community will be closely observing the impact of this shift and its implications for the university’s future leadership as Yogesh Singh continues in his position at Delhi University. It emphasises how important continuity and leadership are in the quest for excellence in higher education.
When inquired about the reappointment of the DU VC, DU’s Registrar, Dr. Vikas Gupta, declined to provide specific insights, stating, “I can’t comment on that. All I can say is this resolution of the Executive Council (EC) was approved by the university court and forwarded to the Ministry of Education in the same year. We haven’t initiated any new actions.”