Madras University facing severe staff shortage

Recently, the Higher Education department denied it permission to recruit staff without Finance department’s concurrence

April 07, 2023 07:28 pm | Updated 07:28 pm IST - CHENNAI


It is not just financial problems that the University of Madras is facing. It is functioning with just 40% of its sanctioned faculty.

Of the 513 sanctioned posts, only 208 are occupied. As many as 305 posts, which is 59.5%, are vacant. At least, 41 of the 90 departments have vacancies. Three departments do not have any faculty and three Centres of Advanced Study are functioning with very few staff that could result in centres losing their status.

Two departments — Pharmacology and Environment Toxicology and Pathology — do not have faculty.

P. Kalaiselvi, a professor in the Medical Biochemistry department, has been listed on the university website as the head of the Department of Pathology. B. Anandan, an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics, is functioning as assistant professor in the Pharmacology and Environment Toxicology department.

The CAS in Botany, which has been sanctioned 22 posts, has only six faculty. In the Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics, there are only seven faculty as against 21 sanctioned strength. Similarly in the CAS in Crystallography and the Department of Crystallography and Biophysics has only eight faculty of the 17 sanctioned posts. 

“These are very important departments enjoying the CAS status recognised by the University Grants Commission. In RIAS, there is no professor to act as director and owing to its very low staff strength it stands to forfeit the status,” said G. Shanmugam, retired head of CAS in Crystallography and Biophysics. 

While Annamalai University had been permitted to recruit over 350 faculty in various departments and the recruitment process was completed during the end of 2022, the University of Madras had been denied permission, he said.

“We cannot blame the present Vice-Chancellor or administration as the 300 vacancies have been accumulating over the past 30 years. Around 10 to 15 teachers retire every year but there were no recruitments as and when posts fell vacant,” Mr. Shanmugam said.

Another senior professor said: “It is a conundrum. On the one hand, no funds to pay for the existing staff. On the other, huge number of vacancies.” 

The senior professors fear that such a backlog of vacancies is not only affecting the university’s ranking nationally and internationally, it is also having an adverse impact on research and teaching. 

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