The Higher Education Department (HED) has been left on crutches as the government has kept majority of the key positions unfilled in the Government Degree Colleges which has hampered the administrative as well the academic functioning of the colleges.
As per the official figures available on the official website of the HED, the department has a total sanctioned strength of 142 principal out of which only 35 posts have been filled permanently while the post of principals in left out 107 Degree Colleges is managed by senior faculty members of the respective colleges to look after the college or the department has promoted the senior faculty as in-charge principals of the Colleges.
In some of the cases, the department assigns additional charge of a principal of more than one college to a single faculty member.
It has most probably happened for the first time that the department has made the number of vacant positions public.
Besides principals, around 972 posts of associate and assistant professors are also unfilled in the degree colleges which has taken a toll on the academics of the students enrolled in colleges.
As per the official figures, the total sanctioned strength of assistant and associate professors in the colleges is 3635 out of which only 2663 have been filled.
Also, out of 141 posts of physical teacher instructors only 82 are filled while only 74 out of 91 posts of librarians are filled in the colleges.
Over the years, the HED used to hire college teachers and academic arrangements on contract basis to overcome the dearth of the teaching staff in colleges. But for the past two years, the issue about annual recruitment of academic arrangements and the continuity of the already working academic arrangements has been caught in official wrangles. In wake of this the students have been complaining that they are deprived of online classes besides facing other problems.
However, the department has issued instructions to the concerned college principals to hire guest faculties for colleges and ensure that online classes are delivered without any break to avoid academic losses of the students.
Secretary HED, Sushma Chauhan earlier told this newspaper that the department has already referred vacant positions of assistant professors to J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) to make the recruitment of eligible candidates.
About the dearth in colleges she stated that the College principals were directed to engage teaching staff on contract basis or as guest faculty as per their requirement in the colleges.