Bhubaneswar, Jan. 6: Vacancies in teaching posts remain a cause for concern at Utkal University despite the state government’s assurances to address the faculty crisis.
The higher education department in November had issued a circular saying “all vacant need-based posts would be filled up”.
However, there has hardly been any progress in this regard so far. The vacancy figure stands at 89.
The varsity authorities seemed upset and agitated, stating that the department has been sending them letters asking for a “justification” for the additional requirement of teaching staff.
“They have also asked us about the present workload of each teacher. This is ridiculous. Hundreds of letters have already been sent to the department time and again with details about the falling staff strength. It seems the government is just not interested to solve this crisis,” said a highly-placed official of the varsity.
Official records suggest that of the 257 sanctioned teaching posts, Utkal University at present has only 168 teachers in position for its 27 departments. There are around 78 professors, 42 lecturers and 48 readers in the university.
University authorities said a few lecturer posts had been filled up on a contractual basis besides the engagement of guest faculties and retired lecturers to meet the crisis. However, this has been of little help. As a result, several departments including psychology, library science, zoology, political science, physics and geography have been badly affected.
“Fifteen more teachers are set to retire in March. Departments such as physics, biotechnology, law and Sanskrit will each be left with just one lecturer. The situation is taking a turn for the worse and the higher education department is doing nothing but sending us their never-ending queries and harassing us,” said the official.
The university has 27 departments and every department offers specialisation papers, most of which have now been suspended in the wake of the vacancy crisis.
“For every specialisation paper, there should be one professor, two readers and three lecturers. But the vacancy problem has acted as a hindrance and forced many departments to discontinue that,” the official added.