Government’s callous role is playing havoc with the standard of education in our institutions of higher education and learning. No fewer that 1600 vacancies of Assistant Professors are lying in the Higher Education Department. This is despite the fact that in many educational institutions shortage of teaching faculty is creating serious drawback for the student community.
The strange case of these 1600 vacancies is a clear indication that the Government is neither serious about recruitment of qualified staff nor in the performance and delivery of the faculties at educational institutions. Once the Government announced these vacancies, it asked the Public Service Commission to go ahead with the process of filling these vacancies. Adhering to a notification of the Department of Higher Education, the PSC declined to recruit M. Phils as Assistant Professors. But the affected candidates brought the case to the adjudication by the High Court which pronounced verdict in favour of the applicants meaning the candidates who had applied for employment. Consequently before re-advertising these vacancies, the PSC again asked the Government whether it would go ahead with advertising the posts afresh and entertaining applications of candidates with M.Phil qualification. But instead of giving a clear and unambiguous reply, the Higher Education Department remained content with ambiguous instructions and did not respond to the demand of the Public Service Commission to clarify what position it has taken in the matter.
It is surprising that the Department for Higher Education should adopt ambiguous position in regard to implementation of the court order. It is something that could be construed as contempt of court order which can have serious consequences. The attitude of the Higher Education Department in this context appears hostile rather than sympathetic. It is totally inexplicable that the department has adopted an attitude which does not ease the issue of educated unemployed but contrarily makes it more complicated. This is not the first time that the Higher Education Department has taken a non-committal attitude. In some cases in the past also it had adopted the same attitude. Also there are more matters related to the issue. One is about the amount of salary paid to adhoc teachers. This is far below the salary paid to regular teachers in their respective ranks for the same work. However, after constant struggle by Adhoc Teachers Association the Government enhanced their salaries from Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000 for teaching assistants and from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 for lecturers recently. This is still far less than the remuneration given to adhoc lecturers by the other universities of the country. The Kurukshetra University pays Rs 21,600 as remuneration to contractual Assistant Professors. Even UGC has also recommended the hike in remuneration in contractual lecturers after the 6th Pay Commission report,
There are teachers who have been working on adhoc for more than twenty years and many among them are nearing retirement. It is unjust to have extracted work from them for the major part of their lives but paid them peanuts and to crown it all deprive them of all pensioner benefits. They are thrown on the roadside with neither the enhanced salary paid to them at proper time nor their services recognised for giving them any pensioner’s benefits. The Government will need to reconsider the academic arrangement scheme under which various far-reaching decisions are being pursued to bring benefit to the Government but at the cost of physical, mental and financial welfare of the teachers involved. Indirectly the students are also involved because after all it is delivery that matters. People send their wards to the institutions after due consideration whether the student can pick up with his or her classmates. As we said those reaching superannuation are disheartened when they reflect on their life long service to the society but with dismal days ahead as they have nothing to fall back upon.