PU mulls changes in sabbatical leave regulations to promote research

  • Surender Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2014 14:21 IST

To promote research undertaken by faculty members, Panjab University (PU) is set to make changes to the rules for sabbatical leave availed by faculty members for the purpose.

In a recent meeting of chairpersons of all PU departments, when PU vice-chancellor (V-C) AK Grover exhorted PU faculty members to undertake research work, some of the chairpersons are learnt to have told the V-C that the rules for the same were stringent and proving to be detrimental.

When contacted, dean of research at PU Lalit K Bansal said the issue was being examined. “It came up for discussion in a recent PU meeting. We are working on it. The necessary changes to relax norms for sabbatical leave are being examined,” he said, adding that the varsity would soon come up with some changes to the rules.

Sabbatical leave (paid leave) is availed by senior faculty members to participate in research projects in their respective academic disciplines in educational institutions within and outside the country.

According to officials, very few teachers had availed the sabbatical leave in the past as rules for the same were not conducive to research.

As per PU rules, a professor or reader who has served the university for six years is granted leave for six months (fully paid) and for another six months (half salary).

After the leave, he has to serve the university for three years. If he leaves the university within three years after the sabbatical leave, he has to deposit the salary amount paid to him during the leave.

The leave cannot be granted to the same faculty member for another six years. Only one teacher from a department with a total strength up to seven (same capacity) is allowed to get sabbatical leave at a time.

These “outdated” conditions have come under criticism from teachers several times. As the varsity has been grappling with the shortage of faculty for quite some time now, such leaves had not been granted to teachers.

However, according to sources, the varsity is now mulling over making changes to rules regarding sabbatical leave and faculty strength. But, the final draft of the same is yet to be made public.

Panjab University Teachers Association president Rajat Sandhir said it was good that the university was trying to make some changes regarding the grant of sabbatical leave, adding that it would help in promoting research.
The higher percentage of research projects undertaken by the varsity had led to it being ranked as the number one university in the country in the Times Higher Education Rankings conducted in 2013. PU had scored 84% in the category of citation, which had contributed to its current rankings.

Citation score is based on the frequency with which research conducted at a university is used/quoted/cited by other researchers.

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