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New teachers for colleges by April-end

The West Bengal College Service Commission (WBCSC) is set to complete the interview process for hiring teachers to fill 2,000 vacant posts in state-aided colleges by next month.

“We believe the candidates will be able to join work by April-end,” said Siddhartha Majumdar, the chairman of the commission.

“Barring one or two subjects, we expect to complete the interview process by March,” Majumdar added.

The commission has already interviewed 78 per cent of the candidates since last June, the lengthiest procedure in the recruitment process happening after five years.

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.

After completing the interview, it will start a counselling session for the selected candidates. “This could stretch for a month, at the most,” a source said.

The next step will be to shortlist the candidates and recommend their names to the colleges — probably by April.

A WBCSC official said 10,500 of the 13,500 candidates have been interviewed so far. “It takes about 15 to 30 minutes to interview a candidate,” said Majumdar.

The job aspirants have been waiting for five years after cracking the National Eligibility Test (NET) and the State Eligibility Test (SET), or after being awarded PhD degrees. NET is conducted twice a year while SET is an annual affair.

Many of these candidates have been compelled to take up part-time or contractual jobs.

Around 12,000 candidates have qualified through either NET or SET, an official in the commission said.

“A large number of aspiring teachers have cracked NET or SET in the past five years. Many others have been awarded PhD degrees. But they have been in a limbo for the past several years because the job interviews were not held till June 2013,” the official added.

“Now that the interview process is about to be completed, the commission should ensure that counselling is conducted on time and the names of selected candidates sent to the colleges without delay,” said a candidate.

Majumdar said the commission had to take its time because each candidate had to be interviewed properly. “We cannot interview too many candidates on a single day,” he added.

The five-year freeze had affected colleges too, especially students. A large number of colleges have been forced to recruit guest teachers for covering the syllabus.

There are nearly 14,000 posts of teachers in the 450-odd state-aided colleges across Bengal.

Vacancies pop up every year because of various reasons such as retirement and resignation.

“It is a continuous process. There will be nearly 2,200 vacancies by the time the commission completes the interviews and fills the 2,000 posts,” an official said.

The commission had kept on hold the process of appointing college teachers at the entry level because of several reasons, including revision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines on recruitment and restrictions under the model code of conduct during a series of elections since 2009.

“But the most unfortunate reason has been the delay by the colleges in informing the commission about vacancies and the requirement to fill those posts,” an official said.

Many of the vacancies might not get filled this time around if suitable candidates were not found despite the sheer number of applicants for the 2,000-odd available posts.

“There is no guarantee that good candidates will be available for each subject,” the official added.

The teachers will join colleges affiliated to 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).

Job check

  • 2,000 vacancies in 44 subjects across 450 colleges affiliated to 8 state universities
  • 13,500 applicants, of whom around 12,000 have qualified through NET or SET
  • 10,500 candidates interviewed since June 2013
  • Hiring after five years; last one in 2008