Throwing University Grant Commission (UGC) norms to winds, several departments of Panjab University have employed guest teaching faculty , much more than the numbers prescribed under the rules.
According to the UGC guidelines, guest faculty should be appointed only when it is absolutely necessary and when the student-teacher ratio does not meet the norms.
Also, the number of such appointments should not exceed 10% of the total faculty.
The guest faculty can be engaged only against sanctioned posts and shall be paid Rs 1,000 per lecture up to a maximum of Rs 25,000 per month, excluding conveyance charges.
On the contrary, the strength of such teachers is around 50% in many departments.
The department of evening studies has appointed as many as 23 guest teachers compared to 25 regular ones.
The university institute of legal studies (UILS) has a total of 20 guest faculty members sharing the burden of teaching along with 21 regular teachers.
Similarly, the department law has strength of 33 teachers out of which 16 are not on rolls of the university.
A senior faculty member said that the acute faculty crunch has left the departments with no choice but to hire guest faculty.
With PU sitting over recruitments of teachers despite repeatedly advertising various posts, majority of departments are reeling under staff shortage.
Department of chemistry where sanctioned faculty positions are 47, around 15 regular teachers are left to run the department. Institute of chemical engineering, one of the prestigious institutes in the field, has only around 20 teachers running the department against the sanctioned 44 teaching posts.
The Department of Zoology is virtually left with about half-a-dozen faculty members against the sanctioned 14 posts.
With little accountability, hiring more guest faculty is not good in varsity interest, said a faculty member. "The guest faculty members are aware that they are a stop-gap arrangement and hence the dedication is missing. At the end of the day, the students are the ones who are most affected," said the regular faculty member.
When contacted, dean university instruction Prof Bhupinder Singh Brar said that under the current circumstances it was very difficult to meet UGC norms.
Attributing the crunch to no hiring of teachers on regular basis in the last few years, Prof Brar said that the only solution was to fill vacant posts in all departments.