Nalanda University

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Board loses almost entire previous Nalanda mentor group

Nalanda `autonomy hit', chancellor quits, Nov 26 2016 : The Times of India

Nalanda University chancellor George Yeo resigned in Nov 2016 , saying that the varsity's autonomy was being affected as he was “not even given notice“ of the change in the governing board that was announced five days before .

“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and possibly har mful to the university's development,“ Yeo said in a statement to members of the earlier board of the university .

Yeo is a former foreign minister of Singapore and India might have to expend some diplomatic capi tal to smooth things with the city-state, one of India's closest inter national partners.

The board was reconstituted by President Pranab Mukherjee as its visitor on November 21. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen's long association with Nalanda University , which he had helped set up, was ended when the board was reconstituted on November 21 2016. “It is puzzling why I, as chancellor, was not even given notice of it. When I was invited to take over the responsibility from Amartya Sen last year [in 2015], I was repeatedly assured that the university would have autonomy .This appears not to be the case now. Accordingly , and with deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation as chancellor to the visitor,“ George Yeo said.

Yeo also clashed with the government on the reappointment of vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal.He had approved an extension to her tenure until a new V-C was found. The government overruled that. The new governing board, which was announced earlier this week, only has one member, N K Singh, from the previous Nalanda mentor group .

Yeo, along with other members of the governing board, wanted the Nalanda Act to be amended to broaden participation of other East Asian countries, apart from those which had contributed financially . “For reasons not entirely clear to me, the government of India has decided to form the new governing board with immediate effect before the act is amended,“ Yeo said.

The amended act, he said, would have removed a “major flaw“ .

“This provision, which was never recommended by the Nalanda mentor group (NMG), would not have been a good way to constitute the governing board and was the reason the government of India requested the NMG to continue functioning as the governing board for a number of years until the act could be amended,“ he said.

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