In the wake of non-availability of National Eligibility Test (NET) qualified candidates for teaching posts in colleges and universities across Odisha, the State Government has decided to start NET coaching at college-level.
To start with, NET coaching will be provided in select colleges like Gangadhar Meher Autonomous College, Sambalpur, Khallikote Autonomous College, Berhampur, Fakir Mohan Autonomous College, Balasore and BJB Autonomous College, Bhubaneswar.
Unavailability of qualified candidates over the years has resulted in large-scale vacancies in teaching posts that has been hampering education system both in junior and degree colleges.
The last major recruitment of teachers was done in 1998. Since then, the number of vacancies has been on the rise in the absence of recruitment and lecturers either retiring or leaving their posts.
Almost all colleges and universities, including Utkal and Ravenshaw, are reeling under faculty shortage. In Utkal University, as many as 87 posts of professors are vacant. As a stop-gap arrangement, the Department of Higher Education (DHE) has been roping in guest faculties and even made an annual budgetary provision of `50 lakh for the purpose.
Currently, guest faculties are being paid `250 per class for the junior colleges and `350 for degree colleges.
Secretary, DHE, Gagan Kumar Dhal, said filling up the vacancies in colleges and universities has been a Herculean task in the absence of right candidates.
At present, there is no NET coaching infrastructure in the State and very few students are qualifying for the NET exam. A pointer to the fact is last year’s figure.
As per reports of the DHE, last year, 3,500 students appeared for NET exam, but only 45 of them qualified.
A proposal in this regard was submitted by the OJAS Education Systems, a Bhubaneswar-based private coaching centre for NET, last month.
After examining the proposal in the backdrop of vacancies, the State Government approved the proposal on Monday. It has been decided that OJAS Education Systems in collaboration with the DHE will provide NET coaching within the campus of the four identified colleges and prominent academicians and teaching staff from the colleges will be roped in for the programme.
For the students undertaking NET coaching, tests will be conducted on weekly basis and the reports submitted to DHE for review.