Protests begin over Kerala Higher Edu Minister taking oath as Prof

Trouble has started over the manner in which Kerala Higher Education Minister R. Bindhu was sworn in by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Thursday, taking oath as Professor R. Bindhu.

Bindhu is a first time legislator and also the wife of CPI-M state secretary V. Vijayaraghavan, a former Rajya Sabha member and she quit her job as ‘principal’ at the Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, an aided college.

Raising the question of impropriety by Bindhu, senior BJP leader B. Gopalakrishnan said that she does not qualify as a professor according to UGC norms and knowing that very well, it was improper on her part to read her name in the oath as Prof R. Bindhu.

“This fact that she is not a professor might not be known to the common public, but she knows very well that she is not a professor. However, till now none knows if the UGC has given any exemption to the Minister, who is the wife of CPI-M state secretary. She is only an Associate Professor,” said Gopalakrishnan.

Even the official Kerala government notification that came out on Friday describing the list of cabinet ministers and their portfolios also indicate her name as Prof R. Bindhu.

Speaking to IANS, U. Abdul Kalam principal of a leading aided college in the state and also the president of the Kerala Private College Teachers Association said at the moment there is not a single professor in any of the government or aided colleges in the state.

“In our colleges the entry level appointment is called Assistant Professor and after a decade of service one becomes an Associate Professor. Then to become a professor one has to have a Phd, have to guide research students who will produce their thesis, besides have publications in peer reviewed journals. Then there is grading system and for each criterion there is a mark given. Bindhu has been awarded her Phd very recently only. She does not have a designation of Professor and hence she cannot use it also,” said Kalam and added that there are professors in the various Universities departments.

Gopalakrishnan further added that in the finesse of things, Bindhu should take a fresh oath with her correct designation.

Since the allegation surfaced, Bindhu nor the party has come out with any explanation to this and with the assembly session all set to commence next week, this is certainly going to be enough ammunition for the Congress led Opposition to take on both Vijayan and Bindhu.