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There are no Ready-made Women Role Models as Administrators, Says Jamia’s First Woman VC in 99 Years

In consultation with HoDs, deans and the Academic Council, Najma Akhtar would see which courses have lost their relevance and work on what can be introduced in the university.


Updated:April 12, 2019, 7:19 PM IST
There are no Ready-made Women Role Models as Administrators, Says Jamia’s First Woman VC in 99 Years
File photo of Jamia's first woman VC Najma Akhtar.

New Delhi: A day after the government announced academic Najma Akhtar’s appointment as the vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University, she addressed the media in New Delhi, taking questions among others about being the first woman to head JMI since its inception 99 years ago.

Akhtar, a gold medallist from Aligarh Muslim University, has specialised in institution building, educational administration and management, decentralisation, distance education and education of minorities.

She has also served as a faculty member, controller of examinations and admissions and director, academic programmes at her alma mater.

“My aim was not to break the glass ceiling, but I was definitely against the glass ceiling,” said Akhtar, adding, a close study would reveal the reasons behind its very existence.

She retired as an academic from the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration last year.

“There were no ready-made women role models as administrators. Whenever people are calling me now, I tell them please keep on applying wherever you want to be. It will happen. Women, in general, believe their chances of selection might be less as there are more men around,” said Akhtar, adding, “I personally feel, you (also) need a different point of view coming from a woman for a university. We are not in a factory, we are dealing with young students and should be able to understand their problems.”

In a bid to improve things in Jamia, she said she would look for collaborations with industries to make courses relevant and job-oriented.

In consultation with heads of departments, deans and the Academic Council (AC), Akhtar would see which courses have lost their relevance and work on what can be introduced.

She said, “New courses will happen, all departments will have to think over it. There is a hierarchy on the campus and that will be followed. Deans, HoDs and AC will be taken along to chart the new courses in the university. We will see what is lacking and what needs to be updated. How we can modernise and change some courses. There are some departments that are running outdated courses.”

To improve the quality of research, Akhtar said she would look for collaborations — both at the national and international level. She would also work to boost the funding scenario.

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