The first recruitment of college teachers in five years will see as many as 13,000-odd candidates vying for 1,800 posts of assistant professor, a process that is likely to continue for a year because of the number of aspirants.
“We are expecting to start interviewing aspiring teachers for the 1,800 vacant posts of assistant professor in state-aided colleges of Bengal in April end,” said Siddhartha Majumdar, the chairman of the college service commission.
There are nearly 13,500 applicants, of whom around 12,000 have come through the National Eligibility Test (NET) and the State Eligibility Test (SET).
The remaining 1,500-odd were not required to appear in either test under the University Grants Commission rules as they have a PhD.
The last time the commission had conducted interviews to appoint lecturers (the entry-level teaching post in colleges, now renamed assistant professor) for state-aided colleges was in 2008.
A commission official said they had to keep the process of appointing college teachers at the entry level on hold because of several reasons, restrictions under the model code of conduct during the series of elections since 2009 being one of them.
“Two other prominent reasons were the delay on the part of the colleges in sending the requisitions and the revision of the UGC guidelines related to recruitment of college teachers,” the official said.
The 1,800 vacancies are in 45 subjects across 450 colleges affiliated to eight state universities.
The state college service commission’s decision to finally start the interviews in April has brought relief to the aspirants who have been waiting for years for a job after cracking the NET or SET, or being awarded a PhD degree.
In the absence of a full-time job, a large number of the candidates have taken part-time or contractual teaching jobs in colleges.
“There are scores of aspiring teachers who have a PhD or qualified the NET or SET. For the past four years they were denied an opportunity to be empanelled through the college service commission despite mounting vacancies,” said an aspiring teacher.
However, those who will get through the interviews will have to wait for at least another year to join the posts, given the number of applicants. A source in the commission said that if 50 candidates were interviewed daily, it would take as many as 270 working days to interview all 13,500-odd aspirants.
“Since each candidate has to be given at least 15 minutes, the expert panels cannot interview more than 50 a day,” said a commission official. “Once the interviews are over, it will take a couple of months to shortlist the candidates and prepare the final lists.”
Each candidate will be interviewed by a panel of nine experts, including a few nominated by the university concerned and the governor, who is also chancellor of all state universities. The commission, too, is represented in the panels.
“The eight universities to which the colleges with vacancies are affiliated have sent the names of the experts. The names of the chancellor’s nominees are expected to reach by this month,” said an official of the commission.
The eight universities are Calcutta University, Burdwan University, North Bengal University (Siliguri), Kalyani University, Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University (Purulia), Gour Banga University (Malda), Vidyasagar University (Midnapore) and West Bengal State University (Barasat).
The commission in December last year issued advertisements seeking applications from PhD-holders as well as those who have cracked the NET/SET for the 1,800 vacancies.