Even as Panjab University (PU) continues to struggle with its recruitment process, the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) latest directive has thrown the varsity into a tizzy. In a letter issued to PU, the UGC has directed the varsity to fill up all its vacant teaching posts by the end of the current academic year, failing which the governing body may even withhold its general development grant.
Of the total 1,586 sanctioned posts at PU, nearly 500 at various levels — assistant professor, associate professor as well as professor — are lying vacant for several years. PU currently faces a staff crunch.
The letter also directs PU to complete the task by advertising the posts in newspapers and the university website and even through personal references, while ensuring that it follows the reservation policy.
With only a few months left in the current academic session, filling up all vacant posts will be an uphill task for the PU authorities.
After putting in a lot of effort, PU has managed to recruit 56 of 93 assistant professors for various subjects advertised last year. The process for filling up remaining vacancies is currently underway.
Moreover, PU recently invited applications for 41 professorial, 55 associate professorial, 50 assistant professorial and one professor director posts.
However, with the academic session ending in May, the directive has the university authorities worried. PU registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) said it was not possible to fill up all vacancies in such a short time.
“The recruitment process is lengthy. However, we will try out best to recruit as many teachers as we can by the end of the session,” said Col Chadha.
Echoing similar sentiments, Mohammed Khalid, executive member, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA), said the varsity would not be able to meet the deadline.
“For the university to function smoothly, the vice-chancellor also has to devote a lot of time on things other than recruitment,” said Khalid.
Backlog causing delay
After issuing advertisements for various teaching posts and then sitting on the recruitment process was a norm with PU in the past. Though in the past one year, the varsity authorities have made sincere efforts to fill the vacant posts, prior to that not much attention was given to recruiting new faculty, which led to faculty crunch.
For its failure to recruit new faculty, the PU authorities had to face flak of students and the PUTA.
Recruitment process explained
1. A committee is first constituted for identifying departments which need staff
2. Qualification and other eligibility conditions are set by the syndicate
3. Advertisements calling for applications are released. Aspirants are given at least one month to apply
4. A selection committee comprising experts is constituted
5. Applications are screened to weed out ineligible candidates
6. Eligible candidates are shortlisted, called for interviews
7. Recommendations of the selection committee are tabled before the syndicate, which meets once a month, for approval.