Vacancies in government colleges raise concerns

Concerns have been raised over vacancies in government arts, science, and education colleges with 41 colleges not having full-time principals and the Higher Education Department recently reducing the allocation of guest lecturers by 20%.

Tamil Nadu has a total of 99 government arts, science, and education colleges. This is excluding the 14 constituent colleges of State-run universities that were recently converted as government colleges. Of these 99, sources from the Department confirmed that 41 did not have full-time principals with senior faculty members acting as “principals (in-charge)”.

Officials highlighted that similar vacancies were present in administrative positions at the Directorate of Collegiate Education (DCE), for which senior principals are appointed. Of the 12 administrative posts, which included eight Regional Joint Directors (RJDs), three Joint Directors, and the Director, seven are being held by persons appointed as “(in-charge)”.

S. Suresh, a joint secretary with Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers’ Association, said non-filling of these vacancies not only resulted in administrative inefficiencies, but were also an additional financial burden.

“For instance, a senior faculty member acting as principal (in-charge) is paid around 20% of his salary as an incentive over and above his salary, every month. A person being promoted and appointed as a full-time principal will not cost as much,” he said.

Similarly, to manage the large number of vacancies among the teaching faculty, the Higher Education Department sanctions permission to temporarily engage Guest Lecturers (GL) on a consolidated pay of ₹15,000 per month.

This year, against the request of DCE to engage 2,653 GLs for Shift 1 in government colleges, the Department sanctioned only 2,120, which is roughly 20% less than the requirement. The approved strength is also lesser than the 2,423 GLs engaged during the last academic year.

A.R. Nagarajan, advisor, Tamil Nadu NET/SLET Association, said the cut was unreasonable since new vacancies must have arisen this year with the retirement of staff. “Importantly, the government has done this despite introducing 81 new courses this year,” he added.

K.P. Anbalagan, Higher Education Minister, said steps to fill vacancies of principals in colleges categorised as Grade I are almost over.

‘Solution on hand’

“We normally promote those from Grade II category and appoint them in Grade I. The vacancies in Grade II will be filled subsequently. Orders on that can be expected soon,” he said.

On GL shortage, he said that 81 new courses will not be affected as separate allocations have been earmarked. “For the remaining, we will be getting some surplus from the Annamalai University. We will ensure that required number of faculty are available for students,” he added.

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