Agartala, Sept. 5: The crisis of college teachers has taken a serious turn in Tripura with limited availability of candidates who have cleared the NET (National Eligibility Test) or SLET (State Level Eligibility Test) exams according to the norms set by the UGC, for recruitment.
Last month, Tripura Public Service Commission had advertised, inviting applications for recruitment to 130 posts of assistant professors in different subjects, but 63 applications have been received by the commission.
The deputy secretary of the commission, Karnajit Das, attributed the submission of fewer applications to the non-availability of candidates who have cleared NET or SLET.
“This has been going on for a long time, whenever we advertise for recruitment to the posts of college teachers, we do not receive adequate number of applications,” Das said.
In order to tide over the gap in the number of regular college teachers, the state government had regularised the services of 317 fixed-pay teachers who had been working in colleges for more than five years, giving them payscales of postgraduate teachers in schools.
“We had to do this because despite advertising at regular intervals, we did not get adequate applications and the colleges were suffering,” Kishore Ambuly, commissioner for higher education, said.
He said the problem of shortage of teachers has worsened recently following the launch of new degree colleges in Kanchanpur, Mohanpur, Khumlung, and Shantir Bazar subdivisonal towns.
Apart from lack of adequate infrastructure, all these colleges are now crippled with acute shortage of teachers.
“We have posted some regular teachers in the new colleges, but the gap is too wide to be filled up in this way. We now have altogether 22 degree colleges where more than a thousand teachers are required. This is because some of the colleges, especially the four degree colleges in Agartala are large with almost all departments. Therefore, the only way to cover up the gap is to recruit teachers from available candidates,” Ambuly said.
He, however, pointed out that students who have obtained 55 per cent or more in the postgraduate examinations would be recruited.
However, for candidates from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe, the requirement of marks is 5 per cent less at 50 per cent.
The move to recruit 204 postgraduates, as fixed-pay college teachers will be confined to candidates from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities.
Ambuly also attributed the lack of NET or SLET qualified candidates to the lack of facilities for proper coaching and guidance.
“Since the pattern of NET and SLET exams are different, special coaching needs to be imparted to the students, but we hardly have any such facilities here. Even the lone centre run by Tripura University for this coaching has ceased to function. Steps should be initiated to launch advanced coaching centres for NET and SLET candidates, otherwise shortage of teachers will persist,” he said.