For some of the self-financing arts and science colleges in the region, summer vacation has turned out to be a harrowing time as they have to respond to the frightening level of attrition of teaching faculties.
That explains why a good number of colleges, as their advertisements indicate, are prepared to appoint candidates with just post-graduate qualification, though the University Grants Commission insists on a minimum qualification of Ph.D. as per 2009 norms or a pass in National Eligibility Test or State Eligibility Test.
“It is simply impossible to get NET-passed candidates for courses such as Computer Science, Biochemistry and Microbiology. Hence, those with PG qualification are taken in and are then facilitated to pursue Ph.D.,” said S. Sekar, Principal, Urumu Dhanalakshmi College. They are encouraged to present papers in seminars and conferences, and the managements are flexible in the teaching timings to facilitate their research, he said.
According to a department head of an aided college, the attrition of teachers in self-financing programmes has risen to the level of 30 to 40 per cent in institutions that usually pay the teachers in the range of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month.
To start any new department, a college has to appoint at least two teachers with Ph.D. qualification as per the norms of Bharathidasan University.
College managements do not find it difficult to prevail upon the inspection committees to sanction the course with assurances to comply with the norms later on, but seldom follow up on their promises.
Even in Government colleges, most of the teachers handling Shift II classes do not possess NET or Ph.D. They handle the classes by virtue of their M.Phil qualification or just a post-graduation.
It is not that the self-financing colleges cannot pay decent salary for the teachers. But, they are not prepared to compromise on the return on investment.
There is no increment to speak of for teachers in self-financing colleges or for those in government and aided colleges handling self-financing courses.
The static salaries force many to move out in search of better options. Only very few colleges have a work culture that motivates teachers to stay.
The prevailing trend is that candidates handling subjects such as English, Mathematics and Physics remain in self-financing arts and science colleges for one or two years, and then move to engineering colleges where the pay is much better.
As the arts and science colleges are forced into a situation of having enough number of teachers to continue offering their programmes, the desperation to appoint candidates with only a post-graduate qualification becomes inevitable, said another college head.