Biometric systems at all universities will now keep track of post graduate teachers’ attendance.
This follows an order by the State Higher Education Department after the move was approved at the recent meeting of the State Council for Higher Education.
The authorities of the higher education council will send a communication to all vice-chancellors soon directing them to install biometric instruments.
Bangalore University has decided to introduce the system.
Confirming this to Express, Prof B Thimme Gowda, Vice- chancellor of Bangalore University said, “Work culture in the university is really pathetic and if we question it, employees stage protests. To solve this problem we have decided to introduce the biometric system.”
According to Gowda, one-third of the staff don’t attend work. “Besides the biometric system, we are asking for work allotment from all departments. Faculty members may resist the attendance system. There was resistance even during discussions. But if that comes from the government, they must accept it,” said Gowda.
Some universities have biometric systems for non-teaching staff, but no university has dared to extend it to the teaching staff.
“Teaching is the only responsibility of teachers. How can they avoid it? They should do justice to students and their profession,” Thimme Gowda said.
Once the biometric system is introduced, teachers must mark their attendance twice a day, once while logging in and while signing off. This will be used for career appraisals too. According to university sources, the existing attendance register book system is being misused by some teachers. “The attendance book is with the head of the department (HOD) and teachers close to him mark their attendance once a week, even for the days when they are absent,” said a senior official.
Prof KK Seethamma, registrar, BU, said, “After receiving several complaints about irregular teachers, we have asked HODs to maintain movement registers at least for the time being.”
A similar attempt to introduce biometric systems for teaching staff was done by the former VC of BU Dr N Prabhu Dev. But after a series of protests by the teaching community, he was forced to withdraw the proposal.
Kuvempu University, Karnataka State Open University and Visvesvaraya Technological University have biometric attendance for non-teaching staff. Karnataka State Law University has introduced it for exams.
Prof MG Krishnan, vice-chancellor Karnataka State Open University, said the system will be introduced at the university. “Many teachers in our university too are irregular. I have discussed this with some syndicate members.”
According to University Grants Commission (UGC) rules, a professor must work 16 hours a week and two hours relaxation will be given for PhD guide work and other projects. A reader (associate professor) and lecturer (assistant professor) need to work for a full 16 hours in a week. They will need an approval of their HoD for leaves.
A professor will draw a salary of around `1.30 lakh per month, a reader gets up to `1 lakh and a lecturers draws of `60,000 a month.
Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande said: “It is not a move to punish anybody. We just want to bring discipline among the teachers and no one should oppose to it.”
Prof Jeevan Kumar, chairman, Centre for Gandhian Studies, BU, said: “I personally have no issues with the implementation of biometrics. But we have things like visiting the libraries and such should get relaxation for that.”
“It is really a good move, but hope it is not misused. There are chances that the staff staying near to campus may misuse the system by coming in the morning, going out and again coming back in the evening to swipe it,” said another senior professor of BU.
However, students are happy with the move.
“Attendance of 75 pc is mandatory for us; otherwise we will not be allowed to write the exams. If a similar method is introduced to teachers quality of teaching will improve,” Sandhya, a PG student at Bangalore University, said.