One of the most popular choices for higher studies among students across the country, Delhi University is coping with a challenge of vacant posts of principals in almost one-third of its nearly 70 colleges. Hindu, Hansraj, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Vivekanand, Gargi, Shyam Lal, Motilal Nehru, Swami Sharaddhanand, Aurobindo and Kirori Mal do not have regular principals. Instead, these colleges have acting/officiating principals or an OSD (officer on special duty) at the top.
University officials have expressed their views on the gravity of the situation and the reasons for this.
DU spokesperson Professor Malay Neerav tells this reporter that the matter is being looked into and all necessary steps are being taken to fill the posts in most colleges. “The process of appointments is in full swing and in many cases, the interviews have already been conducted. Advertisements have been placed and selection committees have been constituted in others. New principals have been appointed at Daulat Ram and Aryabhatta colleges. The appointments have been finalised at Dyal Singh College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and Satyawati College. At Hindu and Shri Ram College of Commerce, the post has been advertised.”
He adds, “Selection committees have been constituted at Shyam Lal College, Aurobindo College and Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. In case of Kirori Mal College, the existing principal has been suspended, so a new principal cannot be appointed as per university rules. The university is overseeing the process of appointments in all colleges and has also written to them to go ahead with hiring regular principals as early as possible.”
According to other officials at the university, the provision for OSD and officiating principal was meant to be an interim ­solution to an administrative emergency that might arise due to the resignation/retirement etc of the permanent principal.
Professor Amitava Chakraborty, member of DU’s academic council says, “That’s why such appointments are of a very short span, for six months usually. However, the current administration has not appointed permanent principals for long, creating a large number of OSD/officiating principals. This is comparable to how this administration has created a ­system where ad hoc ­appointment against permanent teaching positions has been made into a regular practice using the ­provision of ad hoc appointments, a provision originally envisaged as a interim provision.”
This thrust on making such short-term appointments a ­regular practice harms the teaching-learning process and administration of respective ­colleges, adds Chakraborty.
OSDs or officiating principals remain vulnerable to ­administration pressures, cannot exercise their independent opinions, or envision long-term measures, as their appointments remain dependent on the ­pleasure of the vice chancellor, he says.
The process of appointment of principals was adversely affected after the university administration expressed its reservation on a University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation on the appointment of principals and the points system. “As per the regulation, the tenure of principals was fixed at five years while certain sections in DU wanted this to be extended. These sections then made a representation to the human resource development ministry and the UGC, following which the tenure was extended to 10 years in a fresh UGC regulation in January 2014,” says Nandita Narain, president, Delhi University Teachers’ Association. “However, no new notification was received by DU on the subject,” says Neerav.
Narain alleges that the ­university did not amend an important ordinance on the matter. “While the amendments to ordinances on promotions of teachers were passed on August 17, 2013, the vice chancellor deliberately did not place any amendment for appointment of principals as per the UGC Regulation 2010,” she says.
Daulat Ram College, Aryabhatt College: Principal appointed
Dyal Singh College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Satyawati College: Appointments finalised
Hindu, Shri Ram College of Commerce: Post has been advertised
Shyam Lal College, Aurobindo College and Shaheed Bhagat Singh College: Selection committees constituted