Staff Reporter

Association of University Teachers makes this appeal to the University Grants Commission

TIRUCHI: The Association of University Teachers (AUT) has urged the University Grants Commission (UGC) to modify the Faculty Improvement Programme suitably for the 11th Plan period in order to broadbase its benefits.

In a statement issued here on Monday, its treasurer N. Baskaran said that in addition to research leading to Ph.D., participation as delegates or presentation of papers in national and international conferences, post-doctoral research for a maximum of one year and participation in computer training programmes for the same period to enable teachers acquire hands-on experience must be brought under the ambit of FIP.

The present rule that only 20 per cent of the eligible staff in each college can go for FIP must be revised as 20 per cent of total staff subject to a minimum of 10 to make the programme available to more teachers.

Also, the upper age limit for men teachers should be raised to 50 from 45, as in the case of women teachers, taking into consideration the importance of covering post-doctoral research under FIP.

The delay in making payments to qualified substitute teachers and in releasing contingency grants to teachers on FIP must be avoided, he said.

There were instances of qualified substitutes, who had worked during the 9th Plan period (1997-2002) yet to get their salary from the UGC.

Likewise, delay in release of contingency grants during the second and third year for teachers undertaking research for three years under FIP is commonplace, he said.

Besides rectifying these shortcomings, the UGC must revive the `Living Allowance,' which was stopped for the 10th Plan period, for teachers doing research at a place over 30 km away from their workplace.

While prevailing upon colleges to permit three full years for teachers undertaking research under FIP, the UGC should provide suitable remuneration to the Ph.D. guides and proportionately reduce teaching workload.

The rule that candidates availing FIP should serve the parent college for a minimum of five years after the programme should be amended to the effect that they could serve for a minimum of five years in any university/college recognised by the UGC or the State / Central Government.

Extend gesture

In another statement, while welcoming the State Government's decision to convert self-financing courses into regular ones to put an end to the system of employing guest lecturers, he insisted that the gesture must be extended to aided colleges.

He urged the Government to announce a moratorium on starting self-financing colleges since many seats remain vacant in several such institutions. Higher education can be saved only by starting more government or aided colleges.