Kolkata: The University of Calcutta, one of the premier institutions of higher education, has more than 50% posts of teachers lying vacant. This startling fact came to the light during an internal survey conducted by the Calcutta University Teachers Association (CUTA) recently.
The survey noted that as many as 55 post of teachers even in the post graduate departments are vacant. There are 395 teachers working in the university against the sanctioned posts 793 teachers in various departments.
“This means that a total of 392 posts of teachers, a little over 50% of the sanctioned posts, are lying vacant. The scene is pathetic for all the departments,” pointed out CUTA general secretary Sanatan Chatterjee, adding that the PG department of history is a classic case in which 15 out of the total 25 posts have no teachers.
Likewise, the electronic science department has only four teachers against the sanctioned strength of 10. “While these are the classic examples, the situation is the same for all the 44 departments. There is not a single department where the total sanctioned posts are filled up fully,” pointed out a CUTA official.
The officials alleged that the university did not make any effort to fill up the vacancies even after being alerted about the shortage of staff. “So finally, the association on its own initiative undertook a survey on this count and revealed the alarming figure about the vacant posts. Since then the university authorities have been requested by the association several times to fill up the vacant posts but nothing came out so far,” he added.
One of the senior staff members said that such a situation was inevitable as the University of Calcutta had been running under ad-hoc arrangement. “It did not have a regular vice chancellor, since the Calcutta High Court in September last year dismissed the re-appointment of incumbent vice-chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee. The decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said.
Teachers alleged that the acute shortage of teaching faculties is impacting the quality of teaching in the university, especially in the higher studies section. “Specialisation is the key factor when it comes to post-graduation studies. As the university is grappling with teachers’ crunch, pressure is naturally on the existing teachers to finish the syllabus than imparting quality teaching,” he said.
The university’s plan to introduce the much sought-after course in artificial intelligence (AI) has been put on hold for want of qualified teachers. According to another senior teacher, the perennial shortage of teaching staff has led to the migration of students to central universities, universities in other states and even reputed private universities. Several students dropped out of the courses midterm.