TN Guv rejects TNPSC chief nominee; also says varsities under no obligation to follow common syllabus on education

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TN Governor R N Ravi

R N Ravi (File Photo)

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, not on good terms with the ruling DMK on several issues, including his opposition to scrapping NEET, appeared to stoke a fresh controversy by returning the file on the state’s nominee for the TNPSC chairman post.

Also, Ravi, a champion of the Centre’s new education policy (NEP) informed the state vice-chancellors that they were not under any obligation to follow the common syllabus on education framed by the Tamil Nadu government.

The Governor, a former high-ranking police official himself, has returned the file on appointing former state Director General of Police (DGP) C Sylendra Babu, who retired in June this year, as the chairman of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), which has 14 other members. An official at the secretariat confirmed that the Governor had returned this file on Monday.

The term for TNPSC chairman is 6 years.

The source said the Governor returned the file asking for particulars on the appointment of the chairman and other members of the commission.

The Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE) has released a model syllabus for 301 undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, and asked the universities to follow about 75 per cent common syllabus. They were given the autonomy to follow 25 per cent of the content based on regional needs.

"The higher educational institutions are under no obligation to follow the common syllabus prepared by the TANSCHE," the Governor said in a communication to the Vice-Chancellors of universities in the state.

In a letter addressed to the state vice chancellors, Ravi said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had made it clear that it is the university/ autonomous college that shall design the course/ programme of study and syllabus in accordance with the regulations, framework, guidelines, etc., issued by the UGC from time to time.

"This puts to rest any doubt or ambiguity regarding the common syllabus," the Governor said.

He said the vice-chancellors, principals of colleges and management of autonomous institutions had already raised concerns over the state government pushing for adoption of common syllabus designed by TANSCHE, before the UGC, saying education is in the union list and hence beyond the competence of the state government.

"Their concerns broadly are severe erosion of their academic freedom, the common syllabus will severely compromise the quality of education as these are far below and behind the current syllabus being followed by them," Ravi said.

Also, the varsities felt that the state's move could drive them out of the national institutional ranking framework that promotes healthy competitions towards better performances and determines their overall India rankings, Ravi said.

In another communication to the state government, the Governor cleared the decks for appointing the chairman and four members of the Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority constituted under the TN Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Act, 2022.

As per this, retired IAS officer Md Nasimuddin was appointed as chairman while retired IPS official M C Sarangan, retired professor C Chellappan, retired clinical psychologist O Raveendran, and Vijay Karunakaran, founder and CEO In-Gage Group were appointed as members.