Quota gap in varsity ads
Half-a-dozen central universities have advertised teacher vacancies without earmarking the Other Backward Classes quota for the senior posts of professor and associate professor.
The central government, however, said the “anomaly” would be corrected through a clarification on Thursday.
According to an ordinance promulgated in March, the OBC quota applies to every level of teaching posts at centrally run higher education institutions, but the regulator has not yet issued a directive on the subject to the universities.
In the past 15 days, the Central University of Tamil Nadu, Central University of Punjab, Manipur University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi
Central University, Bihar, and the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University have advertised teaching posts.
They have offered OBC reservation at the level of assistant professor — the lowest teaching post in universities — but not for the posts of associate professor or professor.
For example, Manipur University has sought applications for 25 posts of professor, 51 posts of associate professor and 39 of assistant professor. Only nine assistant professors’ posts have been reserved for the OBCs.
If the quota had been implemented for the two higher posts, too, the OBCs would have been entitled to five posts of professor and 10 of associate professor, according to the roster that universities follow.
The Tata Institute advertised six vacant posts of professor, 10 of associate professor and 23 of assistant professor, with seats reserved for OBC applicants only at the lowest level.
The Central University of Karnataka had issued similar advertisements in March after the ordinance had been promulgated.
Hansraj Suman, president of the association of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and OBC teachers at Delhi University, said these advertisements had “openly violated the law of the land”. “We have written to the University Grants Commission (higher education regulator) and the National Commission for Backward Classes. We will challenge it (the advertisements) in court if not corrected,” Suman said.
For 14 years after OBC reservation in government jobs became the law in 1993, the universities would not implement it for teachers. They began doing so after the regulator in 2007 asked them to implement the quota at “entry-level” posts, which the central universities interpreted as referring only to assistant professors.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, however, got the benefit of reservation at all levels of teaching posts.
It’s this 12-year-old guideline that the central university officials are now citing to defend the latest advertisements.
However, the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019, allowed the OBC quota at all levels of teaching posts, among other things.
“Notwithstanding anything in any other law for the time being in force, there shall be reservation of posts in direct recruitment out of the sanctioned strength in teachers’ cadre in a Central Educational Institution…,” the ordinance said.
Higher education secretary R. Subrahmanyam admitted the recent advertisements had got it wrong.
“It’s an anomaly in the advertisements. The reservation applies to all posts for which there is direct recruitment. The ministry is issuing a clarification tomorrow,” Subrahmanyam said on Wednesday.
The advertisements have restricted the recently enacted quota for the poor among the upper castes, too, to assistant professors alone. Thursday’s government clarification is expected to clear this up too.