The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 11 , 2014
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Vacancy shadow on colleges

A large number of colleges will continue to function without a principal this year as there are only a few takers for the job.

Less than 300 candidates have applied against around 220 vacancies.

“It’s unlikely we will be able to fill up more than one-third the vacancies, given the rigorous screening process and the number of applicants,” said an official in the college service commission, which recruits principals of state-aided colleges.

The commission had on December 31 published an advertisement seeking applications for the post. January 31 was the last date for sending applications.

The commission had to defer the deadline to February 10 because of relatively few applicants. “The last date has again been extended, to February 12, in the hope that we will receive at least 300 applications,” commission chairman Siddhartha Majumdar said.

Last year, only 150 candidates had applied for the 135-odd vacancies. The commission could only appoint 42 principals.

The 220-odd of the 440-plus colleges in Bengal that do not have a principal are run by teachers-in-charge. The colleges where the post will remain vacant after the current round of recruitment will have to wait at least till next year to fill up the vacancies.

The principals Metro spoke to said most senior teachers are reluctant to apply because of “poor pay”. The basic pay of a principal of a state-aided college is Rs 43,390.

A college teacher of the rank of associate professor is eligible to apply for the principal’s post if he has 15 years’ teaching experience. A principal pointed out that an associate professor’s basic pay touches Rs 43,390 by the time he completes 15 years in service.

“The only additional benefit a principal enjoys is a monthly allowance of Rs 4,000, which is a pittance compared with the workload of a principal. The pay fails to encourage senior teachers to apply for the post,” the principal said.

The Trinamul government’s promise to provide incentives to college heads — such as car allowances and reimbursement of phone and Internet bills — are yet to be implemented. The government had started recruiting principals every year from 2012, replacing the system of appointing principals once in three years practised during the Left regime. The system was introduced to ensure that each college is run by a principal.