Special Correspondent

`Re-employ superannuated teachers up to age of 65'

Wants the posts filled preferably before next academic session In regular teachers' absence, even good varsities, colleges sliding back Contract and ad hoc teachers impact quality of education Such varsities, colleges cautioned that funding may be stopped and they may be derecognised

NEW DELHI: The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has suggested reemployment of superannuated teachers up to the age of 65 to address the shortfall of regular teachers in colleges and universities across the country. The Ministry has asked all State Governments and Union Territories to fill the posts lying vacant, at the earliest.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States and administrators of Union Territories, Higher Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee has asked them to fill the posts of regular teachers in universities and colleges in an expeditious manner, preferably before the next academic session.

UGC, academics vexed

Mr. Banerjee noted in his letter that in the absence of regular teachers, good universities and colleges were irreversibly sliding back to mediocrity and worse. Contract teachers, and low paid and ad hoc teachers stepped in to perform the role of teachers in such institutions, further impacting quality adversely, he said. Expressing concern over the problem, the letter places on record the fact that the issue had disturbed academics all over the country and also upset the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry.

Sounds caution

Cautioning against the problem of absence of regular teachers, Mr. Banerjee said: "One extreme way of tackling this problem would be to stop further assistance to these universities and colleges which do not have regular teachers as per the norms. An even more drastic step would be that of derecognising such institutions. This is an avoidable situation because it would unnecessarily inconvenience the students and cause dislocation."

Having sent this letter, the Ministry plans to follow it up with a meeting of Higher Education Secretaries of all States and Union Territories to review the progress made.

UGC nods assent

Reacting to the letter, UGC Chairman Sukhadeo Thorat on Thursday said: "We recognise the problem. There has not been sufficient appointment of teachers, especially in relation to the significant increase seen in enrolment of students. We feel that regular posts should be filled by all universities and colleges and that the stress should be on employing people on a regular basis.''