Worried about the large number of vacant posts for college principals, the state higher education department has requested the University Grants Commission to reduce the minimum experience required from 15 to 12 years.
Until 2010, around 1,870 posts for principals were vacant across 19 universities in the state, of which around 250 vacancies were in colleges of the University of Mumbai.
“We have written to the commission last week and are awaiting their response,” said Mahesh Pathak, secretary, higher and technical education.
The state also wants to increase the retirement age of principals and teachers to 62 years. Currently, the retirement age for principals in government colleges is 58 years and in aided colleges it is 60 years.
As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, to become a principal, a teacher has to have a PhD and a minimum 15 years of teaching experience. After 12 years of teaching, a professor becomes an associate professor.
The UGC has also asked governments to increase the retirement age of principals to 65 years.
“The decision on increasing retirement age is pending with the cabinet and should be approved soon,” said Rajesh Tope, minister, state higher and technical education.
In 2008, the Bombay high court had told universities to fill up all vacancies. Subsequently, the state had issued a government resolution in 2009 asking colleges to fill up vacancies by March 31, 2009. But managements appealed to the Supreme Court and got an extension until May 31, 2010.
The deadline passed by and the Supreme Court gave another six-month extension to all colleges in the beginning of June 2010. That too has expired and now college managements have asked for another extension.
Principals are not happy with these short-term solutions. “The root of the problem is not being addressed. Why are teachers not qualified enough to be principals? Why aren’t more people doing their PhDs? These are the issues that need to be addressed,” said Dinesh Panjwani, principal of RD National College, Bandra.