Panel moots raising retirement age of college teachers to 65

The Commission for Reforms in Higher Education has recommended enhancing the retirement age of university and college teachers to 65 on a par with that in Central universities.

The Shyam B. Menon-chaired commission has raised the proposal with a view to attracting accomplished scholars from universities outside the State. The prospect of losing five to eight years of eligible service while shifting to Kerala under the present scenario has dissuaded many candidates.

The panel has called for bringing parity in salary scales, service rules and retirement age among teachers of government, government-aided colleges, and universities. Besides enabling easy mobility of teachers from one institution to another, the move would potentially spur the formation of research and innovation groups with greater flexibility.

The superannuation ages for university and college teachers in Kerala are 60 and 56 respectively. Teachers in higher education institutions in over five States, including West Bengal, retire only when they turn 65 years. Over the last few years, large sections of the teaching fraternity in various States, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, have called for parity in retirement age.

While there has been a similar demand in Kerala, the State government has firmly refused the proposal. Notably, a few days before the commission submitted its report, the Supreme Court had on August 2 dismissed a plea by a group of college teachers in the State to hike the retirement age to 65 years.

While opposing the demand, the State contended that there was a large number of qualified teachers, including PhD holders, who awaited employment. The educated unemployed youth would be denied opportunity by way of a hike in the retirement age, it claimed.

The commission has stated that the concerns of aspiring teachers could be allayed by creating a separate superannuation cadre that is supernumerary to the existing number of faculty positions. The superannuated teachers should have specific designations like ‘Professor of Eminence’ or ‘Distinguished Professor’. About 50 positions should be created in this cadre in the next five years with a fixed compensation equivalent to the salary of a regular Professor or Associate Professor.

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Printable version | Aug 28, 2022 1:17:33 am |