Addressing a gathering at the 70th Annual Convocation of Panjab University Chandigarh, Jagdeep Dhankhar called the National Education Policy 2020 is a game changer and transforming education at all levels.
Days after Panjab University (PU) vice-chancellor (VC) Raj Kumar resigned from his post, Shiromani Akali Dal president S Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged “brazen communal discrimination” practiced in the PU “as not even a single Sikh has been appointed as its vice-chancellor since 1947″.
He demanded that a deserving and eminent Sikh academician should be made the VC of the university now that the post has fallen vacant following the resignation of the incumbent.
“The Panjab University today truly and exclusively symbolises the proud intellectual and cultural identity of the present day Punjab formed as a Punjabi speaking state,” he said.
In a letter to Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of the university, Badal said, “It is shocking that in nearly 76 years of Independent India, this university named after a state which is not only the birth place but also the cradle of Sikhism, has not had a single vice-chancellor belonging to this community. It’s like the Benaras or the Aligarh Muslim University or the Oxford or the Harvard University never having a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian respectively as vice chancellor.”
The SAD chief said his party was against any communal discrimination in any form anywhere but “Sikhs must not be systematically kept out of every position of any importance in this institution- as is clearly the case at present”.
He also said the discrimination was not limited to the appointment of vice-chancellors alone but also runs right down the line. “Of the 36 nominated members to the University Senate, just two are Sikhs. There is no Sikh among the 14 holding key academic or administrative posts. At present, for the first time, neither the VC nor the Registrar of the University is from the Sikh community. Worse, a vast majority of those appointed to these key positions are not even Punjabis,” he added.
In his letter, Badal said the Panjab University was set up primarily to function as professional, academic, intellectual and cultural soul and conscience of the people of Punjab.
“Since 1966, the university has remained the soul, the mind and the conscience of the present day Punjab formed on the basis of the Punjabi language with Gurmukhi script as its mother tongue. Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are no longer associated with this university as none of their colleges remains its constituent academic unit,” he added.