The debate on the ratio between teachers and students in arts and science colleges, especially in most preferred subjects such as B.Com and those in the humanities, is back in the limelight.

After a Syndicate meeting of the University of Madras on Friday, the teaching community is quite upset with the Vice-Chancellor’s move to grant additional seats above the maximum of 70 seats for arts courses, especially in some of the city’s elite colleges which have not shown transparency in admission procedure and a couple of which have been pulled up by the Madras High Court.

“The Senate has already decided that 70 would be the maximum number of seats (in B.A, B.Com., B.B.A. and B.Sc. Mathematics). The Syndicate, in two previous meetings, had also refused to relax this number. However, the subject of granting additional seats, which was not listed in the agenda, was brought up at the meeting in the name of quota for sportspersons and poor students,” says a Syndicate member.

The university should not deviate from the recommendations of the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE), members of teachers associations say.

Raising this issue at the Senate last October, C.V. Chittibabu of Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers Association (TNGCTA) said the university could not grant 10 per cent increase in seats every year. S. Thirumagan, another member, had said that 70 plus 10 per cent more seats would be intolerable for the teaching community as it would be very difficult to handle, especially in commerce and a few other arts subjects where foreigners were also students.

In his response, G. Thiruvasagam, the Vice-Chancellor, had agreed that except for the already sanctioned strength of 70, rest of the courses will be given 10 per cent increase. At its meeting on May 25 this year, the affiliation committee of the university recommended 10 per cent increase of seats, in aided and self-financing courses, in Chennai district, but limited it to within the maximum permissible strength prescribed by TANSCHE The Syndicate that met on May 31 approved it.

Again in July, the convenor of the affiliation committee recommended to the Syndicate not to comply with the request of a city college principal for an increase of 10 per cent seats over and above the maximum permissible strength in UG and PG courses for this academic.

“The university administration’s attempt to push through an increase in number of seats against TANSCHE recommendations and decisions taken by the Syndicate and Senate undermines the government and the university’s highest decision-making bodies,” a Syndicate member charged.

A section of the Syndicate members had asked the Vice-Chancellor to convene a special Senate to ratify any increase in the number of seats, say sources.

  • 10 per cent more than maximum number of seats will be intolerable to teachers

  • University administration’s efforts to push the increase undermine rules