Who will be the new Jammu University VC is a million dollar question as this institution is the hub of higher education in the entire province, and Vice Chancellor’s post carries a lot of power, and influence. A good VC can take the University to higher levels of excellence, and improve the academic quality while a poor candidate could turn it into a hub of internal politics, and personal vendetta.
With BJP-PDP government set to take the office in coming days it is unlikely that the present incumbent RD Sharma will stay as the VC, and a search committee appointed by the government has already started looking for potential candidates who can fit the bill for this crucial post. The incumbent must have good credentials, and he should also aligned with the ideology of the new coalition government. The names of senior Jammu University professors have been shortlisted by the Committee and they include Prof. Naresh Padha from Physics department, Prof Kuldeep Sharma of Zoology Department and Prof. Deshbandhu Gupta who is Director Colleges Development Council (CDC).
Although the present VC RD Sharma is believed to have strong support from Dr Jitendra Singh, who is an MP, and a Minister in the union Cabinet. Top leaders from National Conference, and Congress in Jammu are also supporting the candidature of Sharma, who stays as a strong candidate but how the new government takes things into account would finally decide who becomes the next VC. Sources also tell that former VC of Jammu University is also in favour of the present VC.
Although Sharma remains a strong candidate but University sources said that there was strong resentment against dictatorial style of functioning, and running the university with the same set of officials who had made the previous Vice Chancellor very unpopular.
Apart from Sharma, Prof Naresh Padha, Prof Kuldeep Sharma, and Prof Deshbandhu Gupta are also seen as strong candidates for the post of VC, and it will depend on how they project their case in front of the search committee as well as the local politicians who will ultimately decide the winning candidate. There is no doubt that strong connections with the RSS, and BJP will play an important part in who becomes the next VC of this university. The Jammu University despite being an important educational institution has remained an average academic performer with little top quality research happening there. Majority of the departments act as degree issuing centres with little exploration, and dissemination of knowledge. The syllabus seems to be frozen in time, and the quality of research is pedestrian to say the least. The teachers in the university are still holding on to their notes of the 1970s, and have not been able to provide transformational leadership. The university has also become a place where relatives of rich politicians, and powerful bureaucrats with average credentials are able to get jobs easily, and it is thriving in such kind of family atmosphere. The hunger for promotion, to become department heads, to become a VC is very strong here but there is little hunger for knowledge, and excellence, and that is the worst part of the story.