The process of recruitment of teaching faculty for 54 vacancies in Bharathidasan University that was initiated last year hangs in the balance, as the hearing on a petition filed by the Association of University Teachers earlier this year is still in progress in the High Court.
After the university initiated the process last year based on the Union Cabinet’s promulgation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers Cadre) Ordinance, which paves way for treating the entire institution as a singe unit, AUT opposed the move, citing the the Higher Education Department’s subsequent instruction to State universities to treat every department as a single unit to reserve teaching posts for professors, associate professors and assistant professors.
Eventually, the department had, during June this year, given the green signal to the university to fill the vacancies to the posts of Professor (14), Associate Professor (14) and Assistant Professor (26). The last recruitment process to fill vacancies to regular posts in bulk was carried out in 2012.
According to university sources, there are more than one-third of the regular vacancies out of the sanctioned faculty strength of 240 that have remained unfilled since then.
When the case filed by AUT came up for hearing in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Monday, it was adjourned to the first week of November. “There will be very little time left for the recruitment process to be completed as the three-year term of the Vice-Chancellor P. Manisankar ends in January 2021,” a senior professor said.
A university source says there may not be difficulty in completing the process within a month as shortlisting of candidates was completed during January when the interviews were also scheduled. However, there could be obstacles cropping up. During 2017, the State Higher Education Department issued a directive to State Universities advising Vice-Chancellors to avoid recruiting or taking crucial policy decisions during the last three months of tenure.
In any case, since the knotty problem — whether to treat the institution or the department as a single unit for the purpose of recruitment — has not been resolved, the chances of filling the posts soon appear dim, senior professors say.
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