The State government is expected to issue shortly a revised order that sets March 31 as the date of superannuation for teachers of Arts and Science colleges affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University.
The move is likely to affect the functioning of colleges as well as create widespread confusion in disbursing the last month salaries of the teachers.
In the backdrop of the implementation of the course-based credit and semester system (CBCSS) in the affiliated colleges, a directive had been issued by the Principal Secretary of Higher Education department permitting the teachers, who complete the age of 56 years during the course of an academic year, to continue in service. In this case, the date falls on April 30.
The direction was issued on July 31, 2012, in response to a letter by the former Vice-Chancellor Rajan Gurukkal. The letter was written in the wake of the introduction of semester breaks in May and November in place of the April-May vacation after the implementation of the new scheme. The changes were also incorporated in the Mahatma Gandhi University Regulations for CBCSS and the University Ordinance was amended by the Syndicate, which was subsequently approved by the State government and the Chancellor.
The mandatory 90 working days in the academic calendar of the varsity includes the month of April. According to an official in the Higher Education department, the government’s move is intended to create uniformity among all State Universities .
The academic year in all other Universities comes to an end on March 31. It has been learnt that all concerned authorities have approved the order and is likely to be issued within a few days.
The move is expected to give way to various complexities. “One among the problems that could arise is the issue of salary disbursal,” said M.S. Viswambaran, Regional Deputy Director of Collegiate Education, Ernakulam. “The salary bills of all teachers affiliated to the varsity for the month of March have already been approved. However, the move to advance the retirement date by a month could create confusion. As per the general procedure, the last salary bill of those retiring must be approved by the Directorate of Collegiate Education,”hesaid..
He added that the advancement of the superannuation date could lead to significant changes in pension benefits.
The government decision would also hit the functioning of the colleges. According to former Pro Vice-Chancellor Rajan Varughese, nearly 700 teachers are retiring from colleges in the State and about one-third of them are from colleges affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University.
“The situation would lead to severe shortage of staff in colleges for over a month and the student community would be the worst affected.”