VISAKHAPATNAM: As student strength increased with the introduction of new courses in Andhra University, the faculty-student ratio has widened. Of the total 936 sanctioned posts, the university now has about 300 permanent faculty, while others are either guest or contract faculty and they are paid on an hourly basis. The faculty crunch is making a huge impact on the research work, which has reduced by 50 per cent. The varsity has 65 departments.
Each department has not more than three to four permanent faculty members, while some departments have no faculty at all. For instance, the Department of History and Archaeology, after a permanent faculty retired recently, is now left with a guest faculty, contract faculty and senior research fellows.
About 50 faculty members are due for superannuation next year and the State government still has made no official announcement of filling up of vacant posts. The AU is best known for science courses, which are sought after even by foreign students. There are many departments in Science College, which have only one to two permanent faculty.
In the past three to four years, at least four to five faculty members retired every month and so far, 300 teachers have superannuated. As the vacancy position is increasing, the courses are managed by contract faculty, teaching associates, guest faculty, post-doctorate scholars and senior research fellows. According to the norms, a course should have seven faculty members and each department two to three courses. For instance, the History department has two courses and needs 14 faculty members, but now it has zero permanent faculty.
Similarly, the Department of Organic Chemistry has two courses with one permanent faculty member. “We have made temporary teaching arrangements for many departments. The contract teachers are burdened due to staff crunch. Those departments, which used to have seven to eight faculty members, are now left with one or two. We have sanctioned 391 posts, including professors, assistant professors and associate professors. Though screening test results for the assistant professor posts were announced, we are yet to get an official announcement from the State government to conduct interviews,” AU Vice-Chancellor G Nageswara Rao said.
The faculty shortage has impacted the sanction of projects by the Central government. Sources said many departments have lost research-related projects because of the crunch.“Now we admit research fellows depending on the permanent faculty. In the past four to five years, the research activity has come down to less than 50 per cent. As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, each professor can have only eight research scholars. When the number of teachers is less, we cannot have more research scholars. Unfortunately, we could not admit more research students after the Andhra Pradesh Research Common Entrance Test (APRCET) for lack of faculty,” the Vice-Chancellor told TNIE.
- 50 per cent drop in research activity
- 50 due for retirement next year
- 65 are total departments
- 936 are sanctioned posts
- 300 are permanent faculty