... about selecting heads of institutions (pdf). The letter outlines some broad but sound principles (that are marred only by slippery phrases like "result in unfortunate situations"):
- The appointment of Directors /Vice Chancellors of the new IITs , IIMs, IISERs, Central Universities, AIIMS must be made by a Search Committee that has an independent Chair, capable of exercising the highest quality of judgment .The direct involvement of Administrative Ministries can result in unfortunate situations.
- The Procedure for appointment of the Chairperson and members of governing Councils/Boards needs to be carefully crafted in order to ensure that institutions have the benefit of the widest inputs from academia and society.
- The involvement of the Chair of the Governing Board and at least two independent members in the selection of the Director /Vice-Chancellor will ensure smooth functioning at later stages of an institution’s development.
- Appointments of heads of institutions must be made well in advance of a vacancy arising, so that a smooth transition is effected. In view of fixed tenures, there is no reason that this cannot be done in all institutions.
- The proposal for an independent regulatory body for higher education was also advanced by the Commission as an expression of its concern at the deteriorating ambience of institutions of learning in many parts of the country.
All this is fine, but what I would really like to know is this: what made Pitroda to write this letter on 17 April 2008? What was the immediate provocation?