Kerala

No norms in teachers’ appointment kicks up a row

MSc Biotechnology as qualification for teaching posts in botany, zoology

The State government’s decision to include post-graduation in biotechnology as an eligibility qualification for appointment to teaching posts in botany and zoology has raised eyebrows.

While officials point out that the regulations laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC) form the basis of the decision, critics claimed that the move amounted to an encroachment of powers vested with the universities on deciding on equivalency of unrecognised courses.

A government order, which formed the basis of the contention, was issued recently following a recommendation of the State- Level Academic Committee (SLAC), a panel of Vice-Chancellors of State universities formed by the Kerala State Higher Education Council. The committee had a month ago considered the representations submitted by two MSc Biotechnology degree holders, who sought its intervention to enable them to apply for the posts.

UGC norms

According to official sources, the regulations framed by the UGC on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges in 2018 enabled post-graduates who secured at least 55% marks in a “concerned, relevant or allied subject” to apply for posts in various disciplines, including science, as in the particular instance.

“Besides, the fact that the National Eligibility Test [conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)] in life sciences, which formed the basis for appointment to zoology and botany teaching posts, also applied to biotechnology was also taken into account. Similar inferences that remain within the bounds of prescribed norms are essential while deciding on the equivalency of interdisciplinary courses,” an official said.

Teachers’ concern

However, the decision has not gone down well with a section of the teaching community which fear that it could undermine the autonomy of universities and open the floodgates for more government-imposed diktats.

All Kerala Private College Teachers’ Association general secretary P.N. Harikumar said that the Academic Council of universities were entitled to take decisions concerning course equivalence on the basis of proposals submitted by the chairperson of the Board of Studies and the Dean of subject concerned.

“In such cases, the content of the biotechnology course would be scrutinised to ascertain if it satisfied the mandatory requirements for the zoology and botany teaching posts,” he said.

The Higher Education Department maintained that the order only permits those with the qualification to apply for the posts. The onus of making appointments still remains on the university-constituted interview board.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 1:32:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/no-norms-in-teachers-appointment-kicks-up-a-row/article30933555.ece

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