Institutes in State function at 65% of sanctioned strength; 560 vacancies in Chennai alone

The academic year has begun but most government-aided colleges are yet to address an issue that is of concern to both managements and students — lack of teachers.

Most of the 162 government-aided colleges in the State are functioning with less than 65 per cent of their sanctioned strength. There are over 560 vacant positions in government-aided colleges in Chennai alone. In Madurai and Tiruchi, over 700 positions lie vacant. Procedural obstacles are the reason for the colleges’ plight, said sources. Teacher vacancy is an acute concern, according to sources in almost every reputed government-aided college of the city, including Loyola College, Stella Maris and MCC.

As of last year, there were 3,120 vacancies across the State. This number would have definitely risen to at least 4,500 due to over 700 teachers retiring and many others leaving, said teachers. In addition, with the formation of new departments and the increase in the number of batches, the number of vacancies has risen to over 7,000.

The State government, as early as in July last year, had promised to initiate recruitments. However, the promise was not kept.

Language departments have been especially hit, with many of them functioning at about 40 per cent strength.

“All the government did was form a committee that inspected colleges and enumerated already existing vacancies, a totally unnecessary procedure,” said a teacher.

“The government insists that we get permission from the committee before initiating our own recruitment. This has prevented us from even releasing ads inviting candidates,” he added.

In Chennai, out of the 27 colleges, only two have filled up their vacancies.

Sources in a few colleges said that they had been asked to cough up money to get permission to appoint teachers, and also look after the committee when it came for review. “Most college managements prefer to over-burden their teachers, instead of going through the process of recruitment, especially if there is a price on every post,” said a professor.

“Ten teachers are expected to do the job of 17 teachers in every department, in addition to administrative work. Teachers double up as librarians, exam and finance controllers, because these posts are vacant too,” said a faculty at a college. Nearly 35 of the colleges do not have librarians and physical education directors.

M. Ravichandran, vice-president, All India Federation of University and College Teachers, said the recruitment of teachers has to begin immediately.

“When a teacher is asked to do much more than what she is required to and capable of, it only brings down the quality of teaching. We are not doing justice to the increasing enrolment of students, if we cannot give them teachers.”

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