The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to tap all available resources to address the problem of faculty shortage and upgrade the skills of college/university teachers as the country seeks to expand higher education facilities.
Since faculty shortage cannot be addressed overnight, the UGC has drawn up a scheme to involve academics from outside the university system to enhance faculty resources of universities, particularly at the post-graduate and research levels.
In particular, the UGC is eyeing research organisations, research and development units of Central and State public-sector undertakings and business corporations, Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin working with academic, research and business organisations overseas, and foreign academicians and researchers having a demonstrated interest in Indian studies.
Two modalities have been evolved for their engagement with the university system: The “adjunct faculty” route for younger and mid-career professionals within the target groups, and the ‘scholars-in-residence’ avenue for senior professionals and specialists.
The UGC has sanctioned 706 adjunct faculty positions for the entire university system in the country, with Central universities allowed five such positions each, State universities two, and deemed universities one each.
Adjunct faculty positions will be tenure appointments for one academic year or two semesters, and such individuals will be offered a token honorarium of up to Rs.1,500 per teaching hour/session, subject to a maximum of Rs.30,000 a month.
In the case of scholars-in-residence, there will be 512 faculty positions. Each Central university will be allowed two such positions, while State universities and deemed universities can have one position each.
Again, these will be tenure appointments ranging between six months and two years. Selected individuals will be offered a consolidated renumeration of up to Rs.80,000 a month, an annual contingency grant of Rs.1 lakh, and accommodation.
And, to hone teaching skills, the UGC has identified 40 institutions affiliated to universities, which can conduct orientation and refresher courses that are mandatory for promotion from lecturer to Reader. At present, 56 Academic Staff Colleges conduct such courses.
Most of these 40 identified institutions specialise in certain fields of study, and the UGC has drawn up a scheme whereby they can approach it for conducting refresher and orientation courses. And, if the Commission’s Standing Committee clears the courses, they will be recognised for promotion of lecturer to Reader. They will be cent per cent funded by the UGC through the affiliating universities.
The scheme has been drawn up keeping in mind the knowledge explosion, the purpose being providing a systematic mechanism for teachers to keep abreast of the latest and train themselves in modern processes, methodologies and techniques of teaching. With this in mind, the UGC has written to all universities asking them to identify the affiliate institutions willing to run such courses.
Some of the institutions that the UGC hopes to rope in through this route are, the National Institute of Advanced Studies and the Institute of Social and Economic Change (both in Bangalore), besides the New Delhi-based Institute of Public Finance and Policy and the Institute of Studies in Industrial Development.
Source: The Hindu