Central univs battle 40% staff shortage

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 27 2012, 08:42am hrs
The 40 central universities of the country are facing a severe faculty crunch as despite a 6% rise in student enrollment in them, there is a 40% shortage of faculty. The existing faculty strength stands at 10,060 against 16,602 sanctioned.

This implies a shortage of more than 6,500 teachers in the central universities. Delhi University tops the list with 990 vacancies, closely followed by Banaras Hindu University, which has 848 vacant posts.

The crunch, according to the ministry of human resource development (HRD) is due to the additional 5,551 teaching positions sanctioned in order to accommodate reservation for other backward classes.

In addition, during the 11th Plan, a large number of positions were sanctioned to strengthen the existing departments and for opening new ones, said D Purandeswari, minister of state for HRD ministry.

Interestingly, the ministry claims that the dearth in faculty is despite the fact that the new entry pay for a teacher in Central University is more than the entry pay of a civil servant.

The total strength of teaching faculty in higher education is about 5.89 lakh and according to advisory firm Ernst & Young, 45% of the positions for professors, 51% positions for readers and 53% positions for lecturers were vacant in Indian universities in 2007-08. Official estimates say that besides the present shortage, the crunch during the coming decade is going to increase at the rate of one lakh faculty a year.

Besides impacting the student-teacher ratio, the failure to redress the faculty shortage will hamper the achievement of the governments target for increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GER) from 11% at present to 15% by 2012, and 30% by 2020.

The University Grants Commission says shortage of quality faculty coupled with lack of faculty mobility across the regions is a major constraint in the development of the countrys higher education system.

Faculty development programmes are insufficient and ineffective in nature. The 12th Plan should envisage effective implementation of the brain gain policy along with newer initiatives to attract quality faculty to meet the national level teacher requirements, UGC has said in its approach to the 12th Plan.

The approach paper talks about faculty development initiatives in areas like entry-level orientation, curriculum development, teaching and learning, research and innovation, engagement with social concerns and leadership development.

Customised faculty development programmes may be developed on a large scale. Besides, it should also include modernised continuous faculty development programmes of international requirements, it said.