Around 300 government-aided colleges in Assam are going to face massive faculty shortage following a recent notification from the state higher education department asking the college authorities not to appoint teachers and non-teaching staff on part-time and contractual basis.
A report published by TOI on Sunday stated the move will render hundreds of people jobless and cause an acute faculty crisis across these colleges.
According to the report, a very few new posts of college teachers have been created in government-aided or provincialized colleges of the state since 1992.
In order to manage classes in absence of regular college teachers appointed by the government, the government-aided colleges having huge number of students face shortage of teachers and to manage the situation, the standard practice has been to engage teachers against non-sanctioned posts on a part-time and contractual basis.
Many college authorities also appoint non-teaching staff on part-time and contractual basis.
But the recent government notification issued by the higher education department banning this
practice has put these colleges as well as the teachers in a quandary.
“No provincialized college shall henceforth engage any person as teaching and non-teaching staff where no sanctioned posts exist for the purpose,” says the notification.
Through the notification, the Assam government has sought a compliance report in this regard from the college principals in April.
The state government has further cautioned that all members of the governing bodies of colleges, including principals, will be held responsible for any violation in this regard.
However, the government order has faced strong objection from the Assam College Teachers’ Association (ACTA) which has voiced against the government move and said it would have ‘disastrous’ consequences.
In a memorandum the ACTA while seeking Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal intervention in the matter stated: “Since a large number of posts are still lying vacant in most of the colleges, no college will be in a position to run normal classes and other related administrative and academic activities as per their respective schedules. Moreover, with the imminent introduction of the choice-based credit system (CBCS) at the undergraduate level, the existing posts will fall far short of the prescribed teacher-student ratio.”
It has been reported that the apex teachers’ association has urged the chief minister to take urgent steps to put the notification issued by the higher education department on hold until all the vacant sanctioned posts are
filled up and additional posts are created as per requirements.
The ACTA said, at a time when the government has been encouraging colleges to start postgraduate degree courses without creating new faculty positions, the ban on the engagement of contractual and part-time staff will further accentuate the crisis.
The report quoted ACTA general secretary Himangshu Maral as saying: “If the college governing bodies comply with the directive, hundreds of teachers and non-teaching staff, who are engaged in services in these 300 colleges, may lose their jobs. This will be a disaster because these provincialized colleges are the most preferred
destination for students at the senior secondary and undergraduate levels.”
He also said the sanctioned posts for hostel cooks, night-time chowkidars and sweepers are unavailable while the number of posts for clerks and laboratory staff is also insufficient.
Therefore, the move of the government will force colleges to close down hostels and even the practical classes of students might get hampered, said Maral.