Interviews back for college teachers

The Assam government has decided to reintroduce the system of conducting interviews to recruit college teachers in the state.

By DAULAT RAHMAN in Guwahati
  • Published 22.08.15
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Teachers protest in Guwahati. File picture

Guwahati, Aug. 21: The Assam government has decided to reintroduce the system of conducting interviews to recruit college teachers in the state.

In 2012, the system was kept in abeyance by then education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on the ground of alleged unfair practices.

Sarma argued that it was high time to do away with such a system since several colleges allegedly recruited teachers by allotting more marks to some undeserving candidates in viva voce.

In the process, many deserving candidates were not selected.

"Favouritism by interview board members rules the roost in recruiting college teachers. The government remains helpless in such situations since the presidents of the college governing bodies are selected as the chairperson of the interview board," Sarma had told The Telegraph in 2012.

Since 2012, the government kept the system in abeyance and new faculty in a few colleges have been recruited solely on the basis of marks allotted to them in college and university examinations.

"Education minister Sarat Barkotoky has already agreed to reintroduce the old system according to the guidelines of the University Grants Commission. The directorate of higher education has already been asked to instruct the colleges to conduct interviews while recruiting teachers in future," a source in education department said.

Sources said both Barkotoky and his department were under pressure from the Assam College Teachers' Association (ACTA) and The Assam College Principals' Council to reintroduce the system.

"The government is, however, going to reintroduce the system with a rider. Since there were reports that manipulation took place during viva voce, the government is considering reducing the marks for the interview. The interview board will be allowed to allot only 10 marks in viva voce to diminish the scope of alleged manipulation or unfair practices. Earlier 20 marks were kept for interview," the source said.

In Assam, candidates with 55 per cent marks in post-graduate examinations with NET or SLET qualifications can apply for a college teacher's post. An interview board selects candidates after allotting marks to them on basis of performance in academics and interview.

Sources said Barkotoky, who was himself a college teacher before joining politics, is of the opinion that an interview is necessary to judge or assess a person to see how he or she would do as a teacher.

Mere academic brilliance does not guarantee that a person will be a good teacher.

Barkotoky is likely to make a formal announcement of reintroducing the old system during a meeting with ACTA representatives in Dispur here on Monday evening.

ACTA general secretary Jyoti Kamal Hazarika said if the old system is reintroduced it would help produce quality teachers.

"A topper in college and university exams may turn out to be a bad teacher. If such a topper lacks a pleasant personality and effective communication skills, he or she will not be able to make classroom teaching interesting for students," Hazarika said.