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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Bihar struggles against UGC timeline for filling large-scale vacancies in varsities

The letter says the delay in filling up vacant positions of faculty members “will be viewed seriously and lead to appropriate actions by the UGC against such institutions.”

education Updated: Oct 24, 2019 18:02 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
University Grants Commission.
University Grants Commission.(HT file)
         

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to vice-chancellors of all universities urging them to fill up vacancies of faculty members as per guidelines of the apex body of higher education at the earliest.

This is the fifth letter from the UGC since June 4 to universities in the matter.

“As the shortage of quality teaching faculty in higher education institutions is a major concern and requires to be addressed immediately, you are once again requested to take serious steps to fill them up and update the status on the UGC’s university activity monitoring portal on or before November 10, 2019,” says the letter from Prof Rajnish Jain, secetary, UGC.

The letter says the delay in filling up vacant positions of faculty members “will be viewed seriously and lead to appropriate actions by the UGC against such institutions.”

However, in Bihar, universities are in no position to adhere to the timeline despite serious shortage, as recruitment has to be done by the revived Bihar State University Service Commission (BSUSC), which is yet to even have its set up in order due to bureaucratic delays and an estimation of the quantum of vacancies in the state universities as per roster.

Hindustantimes

The commission was dissolved in 2007. Ten years later, in 2017, the state legislature passed the Bihar State University Service Commission Act to fill large-scale vacancies.

Before that, the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) was vested with powers of appointment of assistant professors. BPSC had advertised 3,364 vacancies in 2014. The interview process got under way in 2015 and candidates recommended by it are yet to join in all the universities due to procedural wrangles.

What is more, the UGC made adherence to its 2009 regulations mandatory, which rendered doctorates from Bihar ineligible as the state universities did not implement the regulations. The candidates from other states, however, got certificates from their universities regarding adherence to UGC regulation and got through. This also generated a lot of political heat, with former union minister of state for HRD Upendra Kushwaha questioning it. Now, the new commission has to find a way out of it.

“Though the new commission was fully constituted ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, with chairman and six members, even the first salary to them is still awaited due to procedural issues, while out of 51 sanctioned posts, barely one-fourth have been deployed on deputation,” said an official who did not want to be quoted.

“We had sought vacancy positions from universities, but many of them sent it without following the roster. Now, we have asked afresh. Some analysis of the requirements will also have to be done to ensure that recruitments actually help. There are subjects in colleges for which there are vacancies, but there are no students. Before starting recruitment process, proper homework is required at different levels,” he said, adding the commission would like to initiate the process by March.

Before the constitution of the Commission, there were an estimated 6,000 vacancies in the state universities of Bihar, which led to the creation of the Commission after the matter was raised several times in the Bihar assembly. The education minister himself admitted that there were huge vacancies and that the government was seriously contemplating filling them up through the Commission.

However, even those who have been recommended by the BPSC are yet to get posting. There are over 80 such candidates awaiting posting in the newly created Patliputra University, as no such university existed when the process of recruitment had started. Patliputra University was carved out of Magadh University (MU) in 2018.

“We did not have the documents related to the teachers, as they are with the MU. Our registrar has written to MU registrar for it. The candidates had also approached us, but unless we get the documents from MU, we cannot go ahead,” said a Pataliputra University official.

“We are likely to get the documents in a few days and after Diwali the posting of new teachers will be done. It will entail finance in terms of salary and so we need to have the documents to open service books for them,” he said.