The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The teacher among the taught
- Varsity bypasses post-graduates to appoint graduate in energy faculty

Jadavpur University (JU) has given itself a lecturer who will have to juggle his under-graduate classes with his post-graduate ones. He will be teaching the former and attending the latter, as a student.

When Pradip Basu (name changed) applied for a lecturer’s post in Jadavpur University’s School of Energy Studies, he had six competitors. And, by all appearances, the others were better qualified than him for the job. Except for him, all held post-graduate degrees in engineering.

Basu, a graduate from JU’s power plant engineering department, however, has landed the job. One of his competitors never appeared before the selection committee and competition from the five other post-graduates was, evidently, not strong enough for the sole graduate before the panel.

A problem has cropped up, nevertheless. According to university regulations, Basu will have to get a post-graduate degree within five years if he does not want to be deprived of an increment. Basu, therefore, must acquire a post-graduate degree within this time, officials say. And the only option for him is studying for that degree, even as he teaches.

Though officials defended the appointment, saying university statutes did not bar the appointment of a graduate, others said it was a question of “setting a precedent which does not appear very healthy”.

The selection committee for the School of Energy Studies lecturer’s job comprised five experts from other universities and two senior JU officials (vice-chancellor Ashok Nath Basu and dean of the faculty of engineering and technology Manoj Mitra). It met in the first week of April. Basu’s application was deemed ‘different’ from the start. Other than his qualifications, his was the only application submitted on plain paper. This was noted even in the university’s abstract of candidates’ qualifications.

Neither Basu nor Mitra, the two insiders on the selection panel, was “available” for comment. Other officials admitted that the selected teacher was “very close” to two executive council members from the Salt Lake campus (where he used to study), a telling comment on an appointment “which was not illegal but definitely questionable”.

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