&#91EDITORIALS&#93No faculty councils

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93No faculty councils

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development told the presidential transition committee that it wants to require faculty councils at national universities. That raises several problems. The ministry says it wants to transform the current decision-making system at universities, a closed one dominated by university presidents, to a more open and autonomous one in which outside directors and faculty members agree to the school's agenda.

Under the proposal, a board of directors at each national university would devise fundamental policies and budgets and a faculty council would deal with educational issues, school affairs and hiring.

Despite the good intentions, mandating faculty councils will have some bad side effects. Such councils are now optional, but still exercise great influence on university management. They hold sway over presidential appointments in particular. Under the current system, a council usually recommends two candidates and the ministry chooses one as the president. It is common to see faculty members, alumni and student associations wrestle for a say and try to block the selections. As of now, eight universities have not chosen a president because of such tactics. If the councils are mandated, they will aggravate the problem because faculty members will demand a bigger say.

The new plan would also put faculty representatives, not the whole faculty, on the council. That will cause cliques to form among the faculty.

Few countries use such councils. Most countries allow professors, staff, students and area residents to manage the selection of a president and other school affairs.

Such councils would be bad for private universities as well, infringing on their diversity and autonomy.

The ministry supposedly was hesitant about the proposal, but decided it had to put it forward despite criticism that its earlier measure to mandate parent-teacher-student councils at elementary and secondary schools went too far. The councils were a Millennium Democratic Party campaign pledge.
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