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 a lengthy process. According to the rules, the direct recruitment to the posts of assistant professors, associate professors, and professors in the universities and colleges must be done on the basis of 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, constitution of 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 has 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.
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PC Joshi, acting vice-chancellor, University of Delhi (DU) emphasises 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, but it does not apply to everyone,” he 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. On the reason behind the maximum vacancies for these categories, Tiwari explains that relocation is a major challenge to get senior faculties. “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. For reserved categories, Tiwari says that shortage of eligible candidates is a major challenge for the universities. According to the provisions, a university can conduct the interview only if they have 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 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 wider population,” says Tiwari. “Despite the limited budget, we advertise the recruitment process as per the guidelines set by the DOPT and get 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 finalise 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. On what delays the recruitment, he highlights that lack of transparency and favouritism has hampered the recruitment process at various state and central universities. “It is possible to complete the recruitment process at all levels within one year by October 2022. Meanwhile, process of recruitment including advertisement and criteria of screening applications, etc can be completed by October 2021,” he adds.