THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when allegations of malpractice have marred teachers’ recruitment at the University of Kerala, it has come to light that an assistant professor, whose selection turned controversial, was nominated to three key committees of the varsity, sidelining senior faculty members.
The Syndicate meeting of the varsity had witnessed unruly scenes on Wednesday after a section of the Syndicate members alleged gross irregularities in the selection of the assistant professor in the Education Department. The faculty member was selected by an interview panel chaired by Vice-Chancellor P K Radhakrishnan.
Syndicate members alleged the selected candidate was given undue weightage in the interview and was chosen despite not having a PhD degree at the time of applying for the post.
The assistant professor was appointed in February following the controversial interview. Within three months, she was nominated to the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of the university. The role of the IQAC, as laid down by the UGC, is to monitor quality and propose ways and means to enhance quality in the varsity. According to UGC guidelines, eight senior faculty members should be included in the panel chaired by the vice-chancellor.
However, flouting all rules, the junior-most faculty member was nominated. Even though the anomaly was pointed out by the Syndicate, the vice-chancellor reportedly took no action. The assistant professor with just three months’ service was also appointed assistant director of the Centre for Global Academics (CGA).
CGA is an important arm of the varsity that serves students from abroad and coordinates international student exchange programmes. The elevation of the assistant professor to key positions did not end here. She was also made a member of the Examinations Reforms Committee soon after. According to sources, there is widespread resentment among senior faculty members in the varsity who were sidelined.
Orders not issued
According to Syndicate members, the vice-chancellor had conceded to their demand that a four-member Syndicate sub-committee should be appointed to probe the teachers’ recruitment. The demand was met after fierce protests by both the Syndicate members and SFI activists on Wednesday.
However, the vice-chancellor did not issue any order on Thursday to constitute the committee. According to sources, the vice-chancellor went on leave immediately after the stormy Syndicate meeting. The vice-chancellor’s term of office is set to end in February 2018.