In a shocking revelation, more than half of the 4,240 teaching staff in the colleges affiliated to Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore district have been found to be under-qualified, Madras High Court was informed today.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan expressed surprise at the presence of under-qualified staff at the colleges, which the University Grants Commission inquired into consequent to the court’s direction on a PIL.
It was submitted that of the 4,240 teaching staff, 2,270 had not even applied for approval of their appointments by the university, confirming the UGC’s worst fear that a large number of teaching faculty at college-level are under- qualified to hold the post of assistant professors.
“If the pool of talent is too small, how will you fill vacancies? What if you go without teachers,” the court asked the counsel for UGC, PR Gopinathan.
To this, Gopinathan said that in that, the case colleges concerned must write to UGC, which could relax the criteria or grant more time for complying with regulations.
The matter relates to a contempt petition filed by a retired professor, I Elangovan, for non-compliance with the court’s April 29, 2014, order regarding appointment of qualified teaching staff in the colleges coming under the university.
As per UGC Regulations of 2010, an assistant professor (formerly lecturer) shall have at least 55 per cent marks in post-graduate courses and possess NET/SLET pass certificate, or a Ph.D from a recognised university, Gopinathan said.
The petitioner had claimed that only about 25 per cent of the teaching staff in the over 118 university colleges were qualified to hold the assistant professor post.
He said that UGC had not initiated any action despite specific orders of the court, pursuant to which the former had formed a five-member committee to go into the issue.
The counsel for the university, however, said that much of the violations in minimum qualification criterion were noticed only in self-financing colleges and that the university had sent notices to all the erring colleges.
They were expected to send in their replies by September 14, he added.
Noting that UGC should conduct more random studies in this regard, the court posted the matter to November 26 for further proceedings.