By Bhanu P Lohumi
Over 75% of the government colleges in Himachal Pradesh are functioning without a regular principal, according to the general secretary of the state college teachers’ association.
Posts of regular principals are vacant in 119 out of 156 government colleges in the state, while 75 colleges are functioning without their own building, association general secretary R L Sharma said.
Two posts of principals designated as officers on special duty (OSD) at the directorate of higher education in Shimla are also lying vacant, he said.
When contacted, Director, Higher Education, Amarjeet Sharma said 25 appointments of principals would be made by the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
“We are aware that majority of colleges are without a regular principal. All the documents are ready for conducting Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) but a case is pending in the court and we are waiting for the court orders to proceed with the DPC,” he added.
Criticising the previous BJP government, Sharma said, “It is unfortunate that the state government and the Himachal Pradesh University were talking about the implementation of the National Education Policy without considering basic issues of faculty requirement and infrastructural facilities”.
At least 3,000 more teachers would be required in the colleges to implement the multidisciplinary education system under the NEP 2020, he added.
There were 132 colleges in the state till March 2022 and 24 new colleges were opened in past eight months with an aim to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), which is one of the main features of the NEP, from 26.3 percent to 50 percent by 2035, said college teachers.
About 75 percent principals are appointed through promotion and 25 percent are recruited directly. “We have appraised the new chief minister about the prevailing situation, Sharma told PTI.
The newly opened colleges include Government Degree College (GDC) Ghandalwin, Swarghat and Balh Seena in Bilaspur, GDC Banikhet and Masroond in Chamba, GDC Glore, Lambloo in Hamirpur, GDC Branda and Dharkandi, Chadhiyar, Kotla in Kangra, GDC Chhatri and Pandoh, Pangna in Mandi, GDC Baruna and Chanddi, Mamlig in Solan, GDC Kupvi, Jalog and Jeori in Shimla and GDC Satoun, Narag and Nouradhar in Sirmaur and GDC Kaza in Lahaul and Spiti.
The Association said the DPC meeting for promotion for the post of principal (college cadre) has not been convened for over four years.
The last promotion of principals took place on July 10, 2018, in which 23 teachers were promoted as regular principals while 20 teachers were placed on officiating basis.
After that no promotion was made and several teachers have superannuated without promotion, association members lamented.
After recently taking over, Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has issued orders to de-notify the notifications for the creation and upgradation of institutions. He has said that educational institutions were opened and upgraded without making budget provisions.