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JU teachers call for pay parity

An exciting pay package and research infrastructure are essential to motivate a teacher to strive towards excellence, the faculty at Jadavpur University (JU) told governor M.K. Narayanan during an interaction on campus on Wednesday.

JU teachers cited the disparity of facilities between state and central universities. They also voiced their fear of an exodus to Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu), which has recently been upgraded to Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST).

“Teachers who quit IITs to join JU are going back to central institutes, disappointed with the lack of facilities here,” a source quoted a teacher from the engineering faculty as telling the governor, who is also chancellor of the university.

“We are fearing flight of faculty to the IIEST on the same ground. Unless the facilities are on a par with central educational institutions, how can excellence be maintained?”

“IIEST would be offering integrated BTech-MTech courses and better laboratories. So we are also apprehending that bright students would prefer IIEST to JU,” the teacher told Metro.

Jadavpur University lost six teachers to better pay and research opportunities last year and a few more have applied to institutes of national importance for jobs.

JU isn’t the only state university losing out. At least nine teachers have quit Presidency University over the past one-and-a-half years, many of them leaving for a better pay package.

Souvik Bhattacharyya had left IIT Kharagpur, where he was a professor of mechanical engineering, to take over as vice-chancellor at JU despite “an almost Rs 50,000 pay cut”. But when Bhattacharyya resigned from JU in November last year, he had raised the issue of pay disparity between IIT faculty and a state university VC.

Narayanan, who visited the JU campus on an invitation from interim vice-chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti, met the teachers after the VC made a PowerPoint presentation on the university’s achievements.

While lauding the university, Narayanan asked JU to continue to strive for excellence, prompting teachers to point out the differences in pay structure and other facilities at state and central universities.

A teacher present at Wednesday’s meeting asked the chancellor about any plan of awarding JU a special status, offering better pay package and other research facilities, but the chancellor reportedly remained silent.

“He made it clear that he is not in favour of too many cental universities. He also said that money can’t be the only motivating factor. The motivation to do well must come from within a teacher. He had raised his objection to having too many central universities during the chancellors’ meet with the HRD minister some time back,” a JU official said.

The JU teachers had in 2010 sent a proposal to the human resource development ministry, requesting the status of central university to check flight of faculty.

“The state government has cut down on maintenance grant. In the budget there is no reflection of additional allocation for state universities. On the contrary, there is the lure of working in central educational institutes. If bright teachers leave the campus, how can there be excellence?” the official asked.

Vice-chancellors of state universities had on Tuesday opposed mentor groups and sought powers like their central university counterparts during a meeting with Narayanan, who had sought their opinion on the merits and demerits of having a mentor group in any university.