THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The haste shown to recruit faculty members in large numbers by various state universities has courted a controversy.Owing to the Covid situation, online interviews to as many as 380 teaching posts in six universities are being held, which according to a section of academics, is unprecedented, irregular and contrary to the approved practices. The Save University Campaign Committee, a collective of academics and education rights activists, has approached the Governor, who is the chancellor of state universities, urging his intervention in stopping the ongoing recruitment process.
They allege that the online interview will pave way for impersonation and other malpractices, and facilitate recruitment of people close to the ruling dispensation. “The present move, wielding the pandemic shield, is quite unfamiliar to our system and lacks statutory backing. It is understood that the rules are set aside, misinterpreted or violated to suit videoconferencing interviews with the sole intention of exercising nepotism, favouritism and corruption,” said the petition.
The number of posts to which the recruitment process is currently under way are: Kerala University (57), Cuast (104), Calicut University (116), Kannur University (16), Sanskrit University (56) and MG University (31). Of these, University of Kerala has already carried out appointment to 53 posts. MG and Kannur universities have filled 42 and six posts, respectively. The petition pointed out the HRD Ministry had advised against online interviews, as procedures and regulations are yet to be framed for online selection process.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel has refuted the charge that the appointments were done due to vested political interests. “Yes, we had directed the universities to fill vacant posts but that had more to do with NAAC accreditation,” Jaleel told TNIE.“Adequate number of permanent faculty is one of the key yardsticks of NAAC accreditation and this is why the universities are showing the urgency,” he said.
‘Recruitment as per UGC norms’
Kerala University on Tuesday said recruitment to teachers’ posts was being done in strict adherence to UGC guidelines and purely on merit basis. “A selection committee, chaired by the vice-chancellor and comprising the chancellor’s nominee and professors from various universities, picks the best candidate on the basis of his or her research aptitude, teaching excellence and academic credentials,” the varsity stated. The candidate’s family background is not a matter of concern for the selection committee, the statement said.