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India’s Central Universities Crisis:  38% Faculty Positions Vacant

Saumya Tewari,
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While India can proudly claim near-total enrolment in primary education, thanks to the Right To Education (RTE) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a central-government-sponsored universal education programme, the story in higher education is grim, as we have pointed out in earlier reports.

 

And the difference is stark when it comes to the core of teaching—the faculty.

 

Data on the state of higher education in India often highlights gross enrolment ratio of students and pupil-teacher ratio, but one aspect that government reports such as the All India Survey on Higher education (AISHE) have generally overlooked in their studies is vacant teaching positions in various universities.

 

Of 15,862 faculty positions in 45 central universities across India, 5,998 are vacant, according to the latest data from Universities Grants Commission. This means nearly 38%, or more than one-third of teaching positions, are waiting to be filled.

 

Central universities are created by an act of Parliament and receive funding from the Government of India.  Following are some of the universities with the maximum vacancies:

 

Source: Universities’ Grants Commission

 

The proportion of vacant positions is as high as 87% in the central university of Haryana and Tamil Nadu. Some of the newly formed central universities such as Nalanda University in Bihar or Nagaland University are still in their early phases, and new staff is being recruited.

 

The government appears to be keener on recruiting staff for central services than for teaching.

 

If we compare data from the Ministry of Finance, 12% of Group A positions were vacant in the central services, which are comparable to faculty positions in the universities.

 

vacancies

 

The shortage of teaching staff hints at the quality of education being imparted in these universities. Data from the latest AISHE report shows how the pupil-teacher ratio is better in private universities than government-run universities.

 

Source: Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Government of India

 

A high pupil-teacher ratio in central and state universities is an indicator of quality in terms of inadequate teaching staff.

 

While the government’s inaction in recruiting faculty is one problem, some reports have also highlighted how it is a challenge to retain faculty in institutes situated in remote areas.

 

For example, in Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, a small valley town in the Garhwal hills, or Central University of Orissa, in Koraput district, only 21 of 140 teaching positions have been filled.

 

Image Credit:Dreamstime/Paulwest5

 
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  1. Anil Maheshwari Reply

    December 18, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Let 100 per cent vacancies not only in central universities but all the educational institutions in the country. About four decades ago, Ale Ahmed Saroor, noted Urdu critic and Professor of Urdu in Aligarh Muslim University wrote in the Young Indian weekly (edited by Chandra Shekhar) that majority of the universities and degree colleges teachers get full time pay for the part time jobs. The situation has reached to such a nadir that these days the teachers do everything except teaching and research work. Is it not the time to emulate the Chinese example. Comrade Mao during the days of the Cultural Revolution closed down all the educational institutions for two years and asked the faculty members and students to spend the time in the agricultural fields or factories. The result is the modern China.

  2. Jawahar Lal Chaudhari Reply

    May 16, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Institutions of higher education should not become factories, and should produce scholars of significance – both qualitative and innovative – primarily in the interest of the nation. The mushrooming growth of educational institutions is not a good sign. The policy of the government has also changed. Earlier the state was playing the role of the provider but now it is only an enabler.

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