"BJP looked after varsity well," says Jamia VC Najma Akhtar retiring next week

The search committee will be responsible for appointing the vice-chancellor but till the appointment is done, the pro-vice chancellor will be taking charge of the post
Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University Najma Akhtar | (Pic: Facebook)
Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University Najma Akhtar | (Pic: Facebook)

As the first woman Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, Najma Akhtar will be retiring next week, she thanked the ruling BJP government stating that the government looked after the varsity well and no other government had thought of giving a medical college to the university.

When asked about her post-retirement plans, Najma Akhtar while speaking to The New Indian Express, said, "I may be retiring but I am not tired and it is up to the government whichever service they will choose for me."

VC Najma Akhtar shares her achievements and experiences in the varsity and the objections of senior search committee members who were against her appointment back then. Najma took over as the JMI's VC in the year 2019 ahead of the varsity's centenary year.

In 2022, Akhtar was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India. On January 19, 2023, she was conferred with the honorary rank of Colonel and appointed Colonel Commandment of the university.

Sharing her achievements and projects initiated during the tenure, Najma said, "My first achievement was to be accepted as the first woman VC of the university which is considered to be not so modern. Secondly, the university was nowhere in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) but in the very first year after my joining, the university got the 12th rank; in the second year, it got the 10th rank; in the third year, it got the 6th rank; and in the fourth year, it got the third rank; and finally in the fifth year, it maintained the same ranking similar to the top three institutes of the country. I did not do this by changing any staff or making additional changes in the varsity. It is just that I identified some hidden talents among the varsity officials."

She further said, "I also managed to increase the percentage of girls in our Engineering and Science departments. We are happily ahead of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in terms of the girls percentage. I also introduced a lot of new courses during my tenure including the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Department of Design and Innovation, Department of Foreign Languages, Virology Department and so on. Further, I managed to bring approvals for a medical college which was long pending. Jamia will soon witness high-rise buildings as well and the health sciences building which is under progress will be ready for the admissions next year."

When asked if there are any probable names making rounds for the post of VC, Najma Akhtar said, "The list is not prepared yet. My work was to get the post advertised and I have done that already. To the best of my knowledge, a lot of people have applied for the post. In a couple of days, I will also approve the formation of the search committee which will have three members, two from our own university and one from the Ministry of Education."

The search committee will be responsible for appointing the vice-chancellor but till the appointment is done, the pro-vice chancellor will be taking charge of the post. Talking about the projects she initiated but couldn't complete during the tenure, Akhtar said, "Fortunately, the projects which I proposed, I managed to finish them. There are a couple of things which are almost ready but the successor will have to start it."

She added, "There are a lot of challenges for my successor as he/she will have to maintain the NIRF ranking and A++ NAAC grading. It will be the most challenging work. Another bigger challenge will be to start the admissions for the medical college next year and also to maintain peace in the varsity as it has always been. The successor will get a lot of ready-made things."

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