Many of them had not been paid for nearly three years; Karnataka government clears Rs. 53 crore in dues

The payment of honoraria to all guest lecturers serving in government colleges of the State will be made at the end of every month unlike in the past when it was not paid even at the end of the academic year.

There are nearly 900 posts of teaching staff which have remained vacant for years and guest lecturers have been appointed on an ad hoc basis. Most of them had not been paid for nearly three years and the new government has cleared the dues amounting to nearly Rs. 53 crore. Efforts are now on to ensure that the honoraria to nearly 10,000 guest lecturers are paid at the end of every month similar to the payment of salaries to the other teaching staff. The payments will be made directly to their respective bank account.

Minister for Higher Education R.V. Deshpande told The Hindu that the aim was to create an adequate knowledge wealth. Towards this end, the financial outlay for higher education had been substantially raised — from 11.87 per cent (Rs. 2,087 crore) in 2012–13 to 17.13 per cent (Rs. 3,243 crore) for 2013–14, an increase of Rs. 1,156 crore in a single calendar year. In another few years, the allocation to the education sector would be raised to 30 per cent.

There are 362 government-run first-grade degree colleges in the State apart from 317 aided degree colleges and 1,743 private unaided colleges.

Apart from filling a majority of the vacant posts of teaching staff — an order for recruitment has been issued to the Karnataka Public Service Commission for the purpose, the government had also created additional posts of teaching staff (2,359) and non-teaching staff (2,399) to provide quality education.

Mr. Deshpande said there were nearly 70 lakh youth in the State in the age group of 18 to 25 and only 17 lakh of them had enrolled for higher education, including those admitted to medical and engineering colleges. However, compared with the national average of 21 per cent of the youth pursuing higher education (gross enrolment ratio), the State average is higher at 24 per cent and the aim now was to take it to 30 per cent by 2020.

Further, there was also regional disparity in the density of educational institutions. Twenty of the 30 districts were educationally backward and the gross enrolment ratio in them was way below the national average. This included the 39 most backward taluks identified by the D.M. Nanjundappa Committee which went into the subject of regional imbalances.

Meanwhile, efforts are also under way to streamline the process of appointing guest lecturers in government-run institutions and an online system has been put in place to ensure a higher degree of transparency. When applications were called recently, nearly 34,908 candidates responded and even indicated the college and district of their preference. A large number of selected teachers have already commenced work. In the past, guest lecturers were appointed long after the commencement of the academic year.

Varsity trifurcation

On the proposed trifurcation of the Bangalore University, the Higher Education Minister said the matter was pending before Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who is also the Chancellor of the university. There were administrators, academics and students who were for and against the trifurcation of the university. The matter was not before the government at the present juncture, he said.

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