The Education, Health and Information Technology Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to reconsider the shortlist of candidates for Tribhuvan University vice-chancellor citing the inclusion of some controversial individuals on the shortlist.

The committee’s meeting held at the Singha Durbar on Monday decided to draw the attention of the TU Vice-chancellor Recommendation and Selection Committee and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to the matter.

The meeting discussed the ongoing processes related to the appointment of TU vice-chancellor and members of the committee put forward their views on the candidates shortlisted for the post.

A total of 43 aspirants had applied for the post of TU vice-chancellor. Among them, one application was canceled while 14 were shortlisted.

Stating that individuals accused of intellectual theft, corruption and concealing information were also shortlisted, the committee’s chairman Bhanubhakta Joshi drew the attention of the government and the recommendation committee to reconsider the shortlist.

Among those shortlisted for the post, former vice-chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya was accused of intellectual theft, TU’s officiating vice-chancellor Shiva Lal Bhusal of concealing information and Pokhara University’s former vice-chancellor Keshar Jung Baral of corruption.

Lawmakers opined that controversial individuals should not be shortlisted for the post.

The committee also demanded investigation into the recent appointments made by officiating vice-chancellor Bhusal. Holding an executive council meeting on January 27, Bhusal appointed an assistant dean, four department chiefs and six campus chiefs.

Bhusal’s move has been met with protests alleging that the appointments were made on the basis of political sharing.

CPN-UML lawmaker Bidya Bhattarai and Rastriya Swatantra Party lawmaker Sumana Shrestha said that the officiating vice-chancellor cannot make appointments.

Minister for Education, Science and Technology Ashok Kumar Rai did not attend the meeting even though he was invited. However, Minister of State for Education Pramila Kumari and Education Secretary Suresh Adhikari were present in the meeting.

Lawmakers voiced their protest as the prime minister, who is also the chancellor of TU, and the education minister, who is also the joint chancellor, did not attend the meeting.

State Minister Kumari informed the meeting that no complaints had been received against the candidates shortlisted for TU vice-chancellor yet.

Education Secretary Adhikari told the meeting that the recommendation committee could conduct investigations on matters such as intellectual theft but the vice-chancellor recommendation process would move ahead.

In December, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed commitment to appoint office-bearers in TU and other universities on the basis of merit and not on the basis of political sharing.

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