New Delhi: JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar has been appointed as chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). However, it must be stated that Kumar’s tenure at JNU was marred by controversies. According to the Ministry of Education, M Jagdeesh Kumar has been appointed as the chairman of the higher education regulator for a period of five years.
The post of the UGC chairman fell vacant December 7 after Prof DP Singh, who had taken charge in 2018, resigned upon turning 65. The post of the vice-chairman of the higher education regulator is also vacant.
“The Central government has appointed M Jagadesh Kumar as UGC Chairman for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is the earliest,” a senior MoE official said.
Sixty-year-old Kumar is currently holding the charge as acting VC of JNU after his five-year term expired last year. The ministry is yet to appoint his successor at JNU.
“It is definitely going to be challenging. My priority will be to ensure the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP). The sooner it is implemented, the better it will be for us. I will be meeting the vice-chancellors of universities across India regarding the implementation of NEP. The NEP has several aspects like the multi-disciplinary courses so we will work on those aspects,” Kumar said.
“The government has also announced a digital university in the recent Union Budget. Working on digital technologies to make education accessible for all will also be on my list of priorities,” added Jagdeesh Kumar.
Kumar’s tenure in JNU has not been without controversies. There has been the sedition row of 2016 and lockdown of his office multiple times. Also during his time the then HRD minister got stuck for over six hours at the venue of JNU’s convocation in 2019.
Kumar was made the VC in January 2016. He had his first brush with controversy as the VC just a week after his appointment when students locked horns with the administration over holding of an event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
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. He has previously worked as Assistant professor at IIT Kharagpur and Associate Professor at IIT Delhi.