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Dearth of Qualified University Teachers

THE lament of Prof V P Kamat, who just relinquished the post of the registrar of the Goa University, that the university has been facing difficulty in getting the right candidates for various faculties deserves attention of all stakeholders in higher education. The absence of qualified teachers could have a bearing on the quality of students passing out from the only university in the state. The Goa University could fill only 13 of the 70 posts that have been vacant over the last five years. With more faculty members retiring on superannuation the list of vacant posts will only become longer. The Goa University has recently been ranked 20th in the country by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has given it A grade rating for its performance on academic and other fronts. Since adequate qualified teaching faculty is one of the requirements the state authorities need to ensure that the apex teaching institution of the state gets the requisite number of faculty members to not only satisfy University Grants Commission norms but also to get good ratings for NIRF and NAAC in the future and attract good students as well as faculty.
The Goa University which came into being on June 1, 1985 has produced thousands of graduates and post graduates over the years but somehow has failed to produce teachers who could take over the mantle of teaching from their professors. It is a pity that after conducting 26 convocations the university is finding it hard to get the right faculty. Many faculty members who were recruited when the university was established and rose up the ladder have retired or on the verge of retirement. There are 78 vacant teaching faculty posts and the number is likely to go up in the days ahead. The authorities have not been getting the right candidates at the higher level for recruitment because there is no mobility, in terms of moving from one place to another. The teaching faculty in every university can get promotion by remaining in their own universities, after a certain period of time, as part of career advancement.
One of the reasons for the lack of qualified candidates for appointment as lecturers and upward in the university could be dearth of National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Eligibility Test (SET) qualified candidates. The University Grants Commission has made it mandatory for candidates for appointment of lecturers and above to have passed the NET or SET. Unfortunately the state’s request for conducting SET was turned down by the UGC as a result of which Goan students have to compete at the all- India level for NET or the SET conducted by Pune University. Though quite a few Goans eligible to appear for NET/SET apply and compete among others hardly a few make the grade as only those among the top 15 per cent are considered eligible. Fortunately adequate number of Goans have cleared NET/SET in commerce and Konkani, sociology and political science and are eligible for appointment to various posts of lecturers/assistant professors in the colleges in the state and Goa University. The scene is different when it comes to economics, life science, pure sciences, mathematics and other languages. Most of the posts at the level of associate professors and professors are lying vacant or have been filled temporarily because of lack of qualified candidates. Those down the line do not meet the requirements and hence have been given ad-hoc charges.
While efforts have to be made to recruit senior faculty members to fill the vacant posts through special recruitment drive the state and university authorities need to help young Goans by engaging qualified teaching in preparing them for qualifying examinations, given the fact the state has been facing shortage of NET/SET qualified teaching faculty. Though the Goa University and some colleges conduct short-term training courses to prepare students to appear for NET/SET the results have shown that they were not adequate and hence efforts should be made by the state to conduct long-term courses spread over a year or so to ensure they meet the criteria for passing the eligibility tests. Recruitment of Goans at the lower level after the post graduate studies would help them to move upwards in years ahead and take over the higher posts. This will also help arrest the difficulty that the university was facing in getting the qualified teachers. The issue must be taken up as a priority by all the stakeholders.

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