HYDERABAD: Qualified and experienced teachers, numbering between 6,000 and 7,000, had their services terminated or they were forced to resign from private professional colleges in the city before the beginning of the new academic year. This is being seen as a consequence of the implementation of a new student-faculty ratio (SFR) of 1:20 by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for academic year 2018- 19.
The ratio was earlier 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for BE, B Tech, B Arch, MBA, MCA and hotel management courses. Pan-India, at least 1.5 lakh qualified and experienced teachers will lose jobs on account of the “irrationally decreased” SFR, allege teachers. In Telangana, at least 15,000 teachers are likely to become unemployed by the end of this month. As per the new SFR, 25 per cent of the existing faculty has to be laid off.
As many as 60,000 teachers are registered with JNTU- H. Teachers allege that college managements are taking advantage of the new rule and laying off nearly 50 per cent of the staff. “The general rule is that faculty members with least experience should be terminated but the managements are forcing even those with 15 to 20 years of experience to resign or are just handing them pink slips.
The catch is that they will hire new staff at a lower pay. It is evident that for these managements running a college is nothing but a business,” said KM Karthik, founder of All India Private Colle ge Empl oyee s Uni on (AIPCEU). Balakrishna Reddy, president of Telangana Technical Institutions Employees Association (TTIEA) said the indiscriminate layoff of teachers particularly, senior staff “who have both experience and qualification” was being done as they are paid the highest. Earlier in March, AIPCEU and TTIEA had approached the Supreme Court and even submitted a representation to AICTE. “With no response from the AICTE, we have decided to approach the apex court again. Last time we had to withdraw the PIL because the chief justice refused to hear it.
This time we are hopeful of positive action,” he added. The process of downsizing the staff began in April in nearly 80 private engineering colleges in the city and will be over before new academic year commences in June. A college at Moinabad on the city’s outskirts sacked 25 faculty members just in a month. Recounting his ordeal, a lecturer of the college said that he was informed orally that his services were not required. “No written intimation was given. I was just orally informed on April 18. Moreover, they held back our original certificates and nor did they give me relieving letter because of which I lost a few job opportunities.
They did not even pay me salary for three months. They have left me with no option but to kill myself,” he said. While colleges have been slashing down the SFR posthaste, it is worth noting that no modification has been made to the fee structure. Colleges claim that they spend nearly 70 per cent of their revenue on payment of salaries which they can save now. “Students who are in the first year will be paying the same fee for the next four years but will have fewer faculty members. Instead of eight teachers they will have six to teach them eight subjects.
But no government has modified the fee structure while changing the SFR,” said Karthik, who rued that while taking cogniance of the trust and societies that run private engineering colleges and reducing the SFR, the AICTE has failed to consider students’ plight. By this arrangement, the top-ranking colleges or the Tier- 1 colleges, which charge the highest fee, will also make money. With nearly half of the teaching staff being shown the door, and new faculty being brought in, teachers feel it will have a direct impact on the quality of teaching. Till now NIRF rankings have been based on the 1:15 faculty-student ratio, and the NAAC and NBA accreditations are, in turn, based on these rankings. With the new SFR in place, these accreditations will become invalid.
STUDENT-FACULTY RATIO (SFR)
As per the old 1:15 ratio, there should be four teachers for every 60 students
Now with the new 1: 20 ratio in place, three teachers will suffice for 60 students
Thus, every fourth faculty member will lose his/her job, i.e.,25 % of the total strength