BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Government draws criticism over dilution of autonomy of universities and Government interference, experts say the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 lays out a clear set of guidelines in the recruitment of faculty members by aligning with the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms.
The State Cabinet approved the ordinance on September 3 to amend the Odisha Universities Act, 1989. It has received the approval of Chancellor Prof Ganeshi Lal.The ordinance states that recruitments would be done through the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) for teaching faculty while the search committee for VC appointment will have a State Government nominee. Besides, the recruitment of non-teaching staff would be done by the State Selection Board (SSB).
Academicians opposed OPSC involvement stating that it is a bureaucratic body with no knowledge of the comprehensive university recruitment process. They also raised objection to Government representation in the three-member VC search committee alleging that its nominee might be from non-academic background having little knowledge of university functioning and requirements.
Experts say the ordinance maintains that the VC search committee will include a Chancellor’s nominee who should be a superannuated officer of the Odisha Government has worked as a chief secretary to the State Government or as a secretary to the Government of India; a UGC nominee and the nominee of State Government who shall be an eminent academician of State or national repute.
The amendment also clearly mentions that the OPSC shall constitute a selection committee for recruitment of teachers for different subjects and for the purpose, it will invite at least two subject experts as members of the committee as per the UGC guidelines. The Commission shall conduct written examination and interview of candidates strictly adhering to the guidelines prescribed by the UGC. On the basis of the written examination and interview results, the OPSC will select the candidates and forward their names to the VC for an appointment.
“All decisions pertaining to the teacher appointment shall be consistent to the UGC regulations. The selected candidates will also be provided their choice of posting as per merit which leaves very little in the hands of OPSC,” said an academician. While a section of academicians alleged that recruitment of non-teaching staff through the State Selection Board denies the VC an opinion on the process, the ordinance authorizes VC for direct appointment of the staff.
It states that on valid grounds, the Chancellor may exempt selection of non-teaching employees from the Board and authorize the university to undertake the selection by itself through a selection committee comprising the registrar, a representative of the Higher Education department, a syndicate member and two experts appointed by the VC. Similarly, the Board will conduct the appointment only after conducting a common selection test. Most importantly, recruitment of both teaching and non-teaching staff will henceforth be a yearly process unlike earlier when recruitments were done in a gap of three to six years.