Varsities running short of teachers
At this moment, half a million teaching positions, nearly 30% of the sanctioned faculty posts in the country’s higher education institutions, are vacant, according to University Grants Commission (UGC) and human resources development (HRD) ministry estimates, and officials say they are working on a so-called national Level Protocol to expedite the hiring process.
According to the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) data, there are over 900 universities including 45 central varsities, over 100 institutes of national importance, 33 government-run deemed varsities, 351 state universities and around 340 private universities. There are around 40,000 colleges in the country, according to AISHE 2017-18.
One of the HRD ministry officials cited above said that the magnitude of the vacancies — it was always known they were there — became evident during a recent study by UGC and the ministry. The number of vacancies even in central institutions is high. Recruitments to central universities were held up for several months after a court order on the roster system.
The process has begun again, from March this year. Still, there are around 6,000 vacancies in the 40 central universities alone, the first official said. The Allahabad High Court, in an order in April 2017, quashed provisions of UGC guidelines that prescribed that the unit for determining reservation should be the university and not department.
However, concerns were expressed that not taking departments as the unit may prove disadvantageous to the weaker sections. A central government appeal against the order was dismissed by the Supreme Court, which upheld the High Court order. The government then issued an ordinance on March 7 to lay down that the college or university would be taken as the unit while determining quota.
The vacancies in other institutions are high as well. In the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the number goes up to around 3,600 while it is nearly 2,000 in the national institutes of technology (NITs).
“In some non-central government institutions, the number of vacancies goes up to as high as 60%. Overall, it is estimated that there are 1.5 million sanctioned posts along the spectrum of which 30% are vacant. Which is rather high,” the first official added. To address the situation, the ministry has decided to formulate a National Level Protocol on Recruitment of Teachers, which will be followed by all central institutions and also made applicable to others, the official said. The protocol will lay down a broad framework for filling up faculty seats. Among the things the ministry seeks to enforce through this protocol are that institutions make a sincere effort to fill up vacancies. “It has been noticed that many long pending vacancies are not even advertised. It will be made mandatory that all the vacancies are advertised. Another aspect is that there are court cases. We will try to establish a system of monitoring and sorting out these issues,” the first official said. “Any sincere effort to fill vacant teaching positions in higher education institutions is welcome. Thirty per cent teaching vacancies in higher education institutions is alarming. Education being a concurrent subject as per constitutional provisions, the central writ on education-related issues is not mandatorily followed by states. Self-financing non-government institutions don’t normally follow the mandatory rules. But the Union HRD ministry must make sincere efforts to fill the vacancies,” said Prof Inder Mohan Kapahy, a former UGC member