Tirupati: Faculty crunch cripples varsities

Tirupati: Higher education in the state suffers as the vice-chancellors of state universities seem to have become mere spectators in the delivery of quality education and the provision of better academic and research opportunities in the universities. The situation, especially in ‘young universities’, is more deplorable as they lack basic infrastructure facilities.

Aside from the large cut in the block grants that the state government allocates to each university, they have suffered from a large number of vacant faculties for over a decade.

It was in 2007 that permanent faculty recruitment was completed and no faculty were appointed permanently thereafter. Universities have moved forward with academic advisors. Additionally, on November 4th, the state government issued GO #167, which clarifies that no university can appoint guest/ad hoc/contract lecturers without government approval. In addition, several departments have no assistant professors at all, while some others have no associate professors.

Sources said that SV University has at least 251 vacancies, while Andhra University tops the list with 373 vacancies. The vacant teaching positions in other universities are 82 in Nagarjuna University, 68 in SPMVV, 75 in Rayalaseema University, 96 in SK University, 86 in Vikrama Simhapuri University, 70 in Yogi Vemana University and about 800 positions in IIITs and RGUKT.

According to the 1986 UGC guidelines, each department must have one professor, 2 associate professors and 4 assistant professors at base level. The teachers argue that forming a rationalization committee to reduce vacancies and cut overall university grants goes against UGC guidelines.

These job cuts had a serious impact on the research contributions of the individual departments. When contacted, Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM) State Head, Prof YV Rami Reddy, told The Hans India that imposing a ban on appointing contract lecturers without the permission of the state government violated university autonomy.

At a time when the fresh batch of PG students will be entering campus, the move will seriously affect academic standards, he feared.

He added that ABRSM has seriously condemned the state government’s stance on filling the vacant teaching posts, which account for about 50 percent of the total faculty strength. This is against UGC guidelines and will negatively impact universities when it comes to getting a good ranking from NAAC.

The Covid lockdown protests are raging in China

Continuation of P1

There are also videos of protests from various university campuses, with students openly protesting the lockdowns.

Over the weekend, Urumqi witnessed a large demonstration attended by many Han Chinese as well as Uyghur Muslims.

Urumqi authorities said on Saturday the city would lift coronavirus restrictions “in phases” after footage surfaced online showing rare protests against a three-month lockdown, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.

Footage of protests, later censored, showed hundreds of residents in a public square outside a government office, chanting slogans “serve the people” and “end the lockdown” and singing the national anthem. Also protesting in Beijing were people from several compounds that had been under lockdown for days, prompting officials to pull back the curbs. Meanwhile, the National Health Commission said on Sunday that by the end of Saturday, 39,501 coronavirus cases, including 35,858 asymptomatic cases, had been reported in the country as mass Covid testing went on across China to identify new clusters of infection. China reported a fourth straight day of a rise in cases, the highest since it saw a sharp rise in cases in top cities like Shanghai in April.