Panjab University has taken upon itself to persuade the Punjab government to fill up vacant posts - teaching and non-teaching - in private aided colleges affiliated to the varsity.
There are as many as 136 such colleges in Punjab, which are grappling with acute shortage of staff.
After the issue of staff shortage was raised by representatives of colleges in recent senate meeting, Vice Chancellor Prof RC Sobti had assured the House of taking up the matter with the government.
The VC announced to lead the delegation of college teachers to meet the state education minister very shortly.
The Punjab government had banned recruitments in colleges in July 2005, since then no regular appointments had been made.
There are a total of 3,568 sanctioned teaching posts in these colleges, which are managing the affairs with mere 1,251 regular teachers. The situation is worse in case of non-teaching staff as there are only 452 regular persons working against a sanctioned strength of 2,473.
Lauding the initiative taken by the VC, Dr Tarlok Bandhu, faculty member of Malwa Central College for Education for Women, Ludhiana, said that it was a welcome move and that they were grateful that Prof Sobti was taking personal interest in the issue.
Kuldip Singh, assistant professor in Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, Ludhiana, said that as custodian of all affiliated colleges, Prof Sobti had taken the right step.
"He has assured us to use his office to make sure that our long-pending demands on recruitments are fulfilled," said Kuldip Singh.
With ban imposed on regular recruitments, the colleges were forced to hire a large number of guest faculties to meet their academic requirements, thus violating University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, which state that the number of guest teachers should not exceed 10% of the total faculty.
VK Tewari, secretary of World Federation of Teachers' Unions and general secretary of All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO), said that the government needed to be more sensitive to higher education in Punjab.
He further said: "The ban had a deleterious impact on the higher education in the state and we urge the government to lift the ban and ensure that students are not at the receiving end."
The freeze on the recruitment has also led to exploitation of teachers hired on ad hoc basis.
Dr Jagwant Singh, president of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers' Union (PCCTU), said that teachers are being paid meagre salaries ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000, far less than pay scales prescribed by the UGC.
In December last year, various bodies, including PCCTU and AIFUCTO, agitated across the state to highlight the problems faced by colleges.