The constituent colleges of Panjab University (PU) set up under a scheme of University Grants Commission (UGC) in association with the Punjab Government to improve education standards in rural area are being run in a slipshod manner.
Last year a total of four constituent colleges -- Guru Har Sahai in Ferozepur, Nihalsinghwala in Moga, Balachaur in Nawanshahr, and Sikhwala in Muktsar, were started in the backward areas of the state.
For expansion of higher educational facilities and to ensure that all states in the country achieve the national average of gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education, UGC had identified a total of 374 districts in the country where the gross enrolment ratio in higher education was less than the national average.
Under the scheme, central assistance is being provided through the UGC, but is limited to Rs 2.67 crores per college in the selected district and the balance requirement of the capital cost along with recurring costs is being met by the state.
In Punjab a total of 15 such colleges were started in 13 districts, including Mansa, Nawanshahr, Firozpur, Amritsar, Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Muktsar, Moga, Faridkot, Bathinda, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Kapurthala.
Out of the 15 colleges, four are under the administrative control of Panjab University while Punjabi University, Patiala, manages six colleges and five are managed by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Barring Balachaur College, the remaining three colleges are functioning without principals. Senior teachers are performing the duties of principals in their respective colleges. All these colleges are offering popular courses at the graduate and postgraduate level, but do not have permanent faculty.
For the previous session, teachers were hired on ad-hoc bases, who were reportedly discharged after the session got over. The varsity had advertised for 54 posts of lectures, 14 for each college, but has failed to make these appointments.
When contacted dean, college development council Prof Naval Kishore said that they could not hire permanent faculty in the last session due to technical problems. However, he said that the faculty hired on ad-hoc was paid as per UGC scales. "We have advertised the posts and the process will start very shortly," said Prof Kishore.
Criticising the PU authorities, Dr VK Tewari, fellow of PU and principal Chunni Kalan college affiliated to Punjabi University, said that PU has so far failed to perform as per the mandate of the UGC in the interest of the nation.
"Principals are the backbone of any college. How can we expect colleges to meet the requirements and produce desirable results when there are no permanent heads?" he said.
Dr Tewari had also raised the issue in the last senate meeting held in March and had requested the vice-chancellor Prof RC Sobti to fill the vacant posts in constituent colleges at the earliest.