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Many faculty posts (6,000) are vacant at universities, and it will take time for them to fill them

Many faculty posts (6,000) are vacant at universities, and it will take time for them to fill them

Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union Education Minister, declared that 6,000 vacant posts will be filled in a mission style by October 2021. The ministry has agreed to put the job openings out on the market by September 10th. The Central University of Punjab has approved 217 teaching positions, however only 129 of these are full-time. According to Tiwari, universities are experiencing financial difficulties. For reserved categories, a scarcity of qualified candidates is a big obstacle.

The recruiting procedure at India’s state and central institutions has been plagued by a lack of transparency and favoritism. A permanent vice chancellor is not always present at central universities.

Key Highlights

  • The Central University of Punjab has approved 217 teaching positions, however only 129 of these are full-time.
  • According to Tiwari, universities are experiencing financial difficulties.
  • For reserved categories, a scarcity of qualified candidates is a big obstacle.
  • The recruiting procedure at India‚Äôs state and central institutions has been plagued by a lack of transparency and favoritism.
  • A permanent vice chancellor is not always present at central universities.
  • Some central universities do not have a permanent VC and cannot take extension decisions on key issues including the recruitment process.
  • There is no dearth of talented candidates in the country, says a senior academic of a Delhi-based educational institution on condition of anonymity on what condition he or she is on.
  • The Ministry of Education is speeding up recruitment in a mission mode to fill 6,000 vacant posts by October 2021.
  • The ministry decided to advertise the vacancies by September 10.

Given the faculty crunch at the central universities across India, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced speeding up recruitment in a mission mode to fill 6,000 vacant posts by October 2021 while addressing vice-chancellors of 46 central universities. The ministry decided to advertise the vacancies by September 10.

Raghvendra P Tiwari, vice-chancellor, Central University of Punjab, says that faculty recruitment is lengthy. According to the rules, the direct recruitment to assistant professors, associate professors, and professors in the universities and colleges must be done based on merit through all India advertisements and selections by the duly constituted selection committees. “Candidates are given at least 45 days to apply since the advertisement of the posts followed by screening and shortlisting of the candidates, the constitution of the selection committee, and approval by the Executive Council. The deadline set by the ministry is possible to meet for the universities which have already advertised their vacancies within six months. However, we will make sincere efforts to reduce response time in respect of all the steps involved in the recruitment process to conclude it at the earliest,” says Tiwari.

The Central University of Punjab started the application process for recruitment last week. The University has sanctioned posts of 217 teaching staff, and currently, they have only 129 full-time faculties. PC Joshi, acting vice-chancellor, University of Delhi (DU), emphasizes working on mission-mode to address the faculty crunch at the universities. “Universities must set a goal and work accordingly to accomplish the task within six months to one year,” says Joshi. On the shortage of right candidates, Joshi explains that advertisements in national dailies help us get a wider circulation, and we get a large number of applicants from across India. So, getting the right talent is not an issue for us. Sometimes candidates might be reluctant to relocate due to some personal issues. Still, it does not apply to everyone,” adds Tiwari highlights that majority of the posts lying vacant at his universities are mostly of senior faculties (associate professors and professors) and reserved categories. Tiwari explains that relocation is a major challenge to get senior faculty due to the maximum vacancies for these categories. “Those working at other universities prefer to wait for promotion under Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) rather than re-locating from one place to other,” he adds. Tiwari says that the shortage of eligible candidates is a major challenge for the universities for reserved categories. According to the provisions, a university can conduct the interview only if at least three eligible candidates for a vacant post under the respective category.

Challenges in wider circulation

In terms of wider circulation of the advertisement, universities are facing a funds crunch. “Universities cannot pay as per the rates fixed by the newspapers. We have to abide by the rates fixed by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP). Most of the prominent newspapers have higher rates for advertisement as compared to DAVP rates. It limits our circulation to the wider population,” says Tiwari. “Despite the limited budget, we advertise the recruitment process as per the guidelines set by the DOPT and get a good number of applications,” he adds.

Absence of permanent VC 

Some of the central universities do not have a permanent VC. “An acting VC or VCs on extension cannot take decisions on key issues including the recruitment process,” says Sharat Kumar Palita, vice-chancellor (in-charge), Central University of Odisha, Koraput. “Before initiating the faculty recruitment process, we must have a permanent VC,” says Palita, who is hoping that Education Ministry will soon finalize a permanent VC for the University. 

Lack of transparency 

There is no dearth of talented candidates in the country, says a senior academician of a Delhi-based educational institution on condition of anonymity. He highlights that lack of transparency and favoritism has hampered the recruitment process at various state and central universities on what delays the recruitment. “It is possible to complete the recruitment process at all levels within one year by October 2022. Meanwhile, the recruitment process, including advertisement and criteria of screening applications, etc., can be completed by October 2021,” he adds.

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