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JNU V-C Jagadesh appointed UGC chairman

JNU V-C Jagadesh appointed UGC chairman

New Delhi: JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar was on Friday appointed next chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The post of the UGC chairman fell vacant on December 7, 2021, after Prof D P Singh, who had taken charge in 2018, resigned upon turning 65. The post of vice-chairman of the higher education regulator is also vacant. Kumar’s five-year term as JNU Vice-Chancellor had ended on January 26, following which he was allowed to continue in his post by the Ministry till his successor was picked.

Kumar is widely regarded for his knowledge in electronic engineering and associated areas. He obtained MS(EE) and PhD (EE) degrees from the Dept of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

Between July 1994 and December 1995, he was a visiting faculty and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

Later, he moved to the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where he became an Associate Professor in July 1997 and a Professor in January 2005. He took over as JNU VC in January 2016.

Nalgonda: Prof Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar. Not just basked in the glory of his position since he was made Vice-Chancellor of India’s premier varsity – Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, in January 2016, but fought his way to pinnacle despite his detractors call him as a square peg in a round hole (as JNU V-C).

It’s not all that easy to head JNU, said to be Left bastion, and come out in flying colours to make it to yet another prestigious post – chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), India’s statutory body of regulating higher education.

Speaking to The Hans India after he was appointed as the chief of UGC on Friday, Jagadesh Kumar who already set his eyes on his new responsibilities revealed his plans about improving the standards of higher education in the country. “The onus is on UGC to implement New Education Policy in letter and spirit to education standards to new horizons. Top priority will be given to teaching in local languages which shape personality development of students, besides evolving the thought process in them,” Jagadesh Kumar said.

He said that the Central Government’s plans to set up a digital university would augur well for the students hailing from rural areas. “Digital University provides access to world-class quality universal education with personalised learning experience to students across the country at their doorsteps,” he said. Focus will also be on education and skill development, he added.

Jagadesh also spoke about establishing a national-level teachers training institute. Emphasising the need for a bottom-up approach to understand the problems at ground level, Jagadesh said that he will elicit information from vice-chancellors of various universities before plunging into action. He also made a mention about the colleges that flout UGC norms and cheat students. “Stringent action will be taken to protect the standards of education, besides protecting the students from fleecing,” he added.

Referring to his tenure as the JNU V-C, Jagadesh said, “We have started a few new departments in the varsity.

We have started conducting entrance tests through the National Testing Agency, making it easy for the students across the country to get admissions into the JNU. Now, we have scores of students from all corners of the country studying in JNU” The JNU notched up the top position among all the Central Universities. This apart, the varsity also has made it to the top 100 universities in the world in subjects such as sociology and anthropology etc., he said. Jagadesh who hails from Mamidala village under Tipparthi mandal in Nalgonda district of Telangana holds a masters and PhD from IIT Madras and did post-doctoral research at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The professor, who is also a fitness freak and a karateka (a practitioner of karate), hasn’t stopped teaching at IIT Delhi even after he became V-C of the JNU. His classes are among the most sought after by the students of electrical engineering. He is the third Telugu to hold the coveted post. Earlier, Vasireddy Srikrishna and G Rami Reddy worked as the UGC chairman.

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