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Cash-starved varsities shun re-employment

Faced with an acute cash crunch, several state-aided universities in the city and elsewhere are doing away with the system of re-employing teachers.

West Bengal University of Animal and Fisheries Science, Belgachhia, has already stopped providing re-employment to at least over a dozen superannuated teachers. Jadavpur University (JU) has also followed suit.

The universities have undertaken the move without receiving any instruction from the state government. Higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty said on Saturday that no order had been issued in this regard. “The universities are autonomous bodies and capable of taking independent decisions. Our government will not interfere in their day-to-day administration,” he said.

The minister, however, added that all the state universities follow a set of criteria for offering re-employment and not all retired teachers are expected to be absorbed. “Re-employment is given to only those teachers whose services are highly demanded by the students,” Chakraborty explained.

As per the 1979 government order, several state universities are entitled to offer re-employment to a teacher if they consider his/her service “necessary and important”. The facility can be extended for a maximum of five years after the teacher retires at the age of 60.

Jadavpur University had been providing re-employment to teachers as per the government order. But the university authorities of late have sought bio-data from all teachers who were re-employed after the age of 60. JU will reportedly not offer employment to any superannuated teacher for more than two years.

The university has recently issued a letter to a re-employed teacher in the English department, asking her to “improve her teaching and research”. Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) president Tarun Naskar said: “The authorities have humiliated the department’s senior-most teacher. In fact, they are trying to discourage teachers from seeking re-employment and the letter has been issued to fulfil this purpose. We have submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor to withdraw the letter.”

Registrar Rajat Kumar Bandyopadhyay, however, said the university had no intention to humiliate any of its teachers. He added that superannuated teachers were being given re-employment as per the norms and no deviation has been made in this connection.

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