Fast-track recruitment process in Universities

Authorities should fill up all vacant teaching and non-teaching positions without any delay
"The advertisements to fill the vacant positions were issued amid the discussions over enhancement in the retirement age of the University professors." [Representational Image]
"The advertisements to fill the vacant positions were issued amid the discussions over enhancement in the retirement age of the University professors." [Representational Image]Special arrangement

The Universities in Kashmir division in January this year kick-started the recruitment process for teaching and non-teaching positions by floating advertisement notifications inviting applications from the eligible candidates.

The positions were advertised by Kashmir University (KU), Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and Central University of Kashmir CUK through advertisements floated in newspapers. The move is seen as a positive development to do away with the temporary arrangements and adhocism that is hampering the smooth functioning of these institutions.

The last dates for submission of applications have already closed. So, all the Universities should fast-track screening of applications rather than delaying the process endlessly. Many of the applicants are nearing the upper age limit. It will be a great injustice with them if there is an inordinate delay in holding interviews to these vacant positions advertised by the Universities.

The advertisements to fill the vacant positions were issued amid the discussions over enhancement in the retirement age of the University professors.

The discussion drew flak from educated unemployed youth who have asked the Universities to fast track Recruitment process rather than going for any enhancement of the retirement age of University professors to 65 years.

Scores of educated youth who are waiting for jobs in Universities say that instead of encouraging discussions on enhancement in the retirement age of professors, filling up vacant positions is the only way out to make these universities progress in every aspect.

Retirement age enhancement is detrimental in view of the prevailing unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir which is second or third highest in the country. Increasing retirement age will also open a floodgate of demands for retirement age enchantment of bureaucrats, civil servants and non teaching staff in Universities.

The IUST Awantipora has advertised 24 positions of Assistant Professors in different departments while the Central University of Kashmir (CUK) has also put 21 teaching and non-teaching positions to advertisement.

After putting these positions to advertisements, all the universities should expedite the process of filling these vacancies as once posts are filled up on a fast track basis, it will benefit the student community.

Unfortunately, instead of encouraging fast track recruitments, some University professors who are lobbying for retirement age enhancement are making false claims that research scholars are suffering because of their retirement. The fact is when vacant posts will be filled in all universities within a span of two to three months, it will address the issue. Merely for this issue the Government cannot consider age enhancement. These research scholars also have Co-Supervisors who can take care of their research guidance during this period till posts are filled up. 

"Civil servants are working with dedication. Non teaching staff in Universities are working with dedication. Why is faculty in Universities being singled out for discussion on retirement age enhancement," said a civil service officer in JK Administration, adding that such decisions are detrimental to addressing unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir and should not be taken in haste.

He said that the Government should seek feedback from the general public and student community on such issues. It is important for the Jammu and Kashmir government to make recruitment of Assistant Professors on a fast track basis instead of increasing the retirement age of Professors.

The fact is that there are highly competent Assistant Professors in need of jobs. They can do great justice with the Profession of teaching. They cannot be deprived of their right to jobs. They can serve the society. Instead they will get frustrated by decisions like increase in retirement age. 

It is also visible that the enhancement in the retirement age of the University professors doesn't seem to be a priority for the government right now as the advisor to the J&K Governor Rajiv Rai Batnagar says that it has been so long since there was a discussion on the matter in the government.

"Since then there has been no discussion on the issue," he told Greater Kashmir. 

Already, a top official in JK Administration had told Greater Kashmir that enhancing the retirement age of the University teachers was not a matter of any executive order issued by any officer in the administration. The officer was of the opinion that any order issued in this matter will have to be a Statutory Order and cannot be any Executive Order.

Meanwhile amid the demand for doing fast track recruitment of the assistant professors, the Vice Chancellor (VC) Kashmir University (KU) Dr Neelofar Khan told Greater Kashmir on Sunday that they are expediting the recruitment process.

"We will do it (finish recruitments) very soon," she said, adding that the University is already on job to fast track the process.

The scholars have demanded for speeding up the recruitment process which they said was pending for a long time. 

"Hundreds of job aspirants are waiting for the jobs. The Universities need to wake up to the concerns of the young people and should expedite the recruitment process for different vacancies advertised a few months ago," said an aspirant who has completed his PhD in Botany subject.

Besides teaching positions, several non-teaching positions have also been advertised in universities. These posts should be filled up at the earliest to put an end to adhocism. Adhocism is breeding monopoly on administrative positions. 

Universities should ensure a transparent recruitment process. Some officers in Kashmir University have submitted their application forms for vacant administrative positions. However some of these applicants are presently holding the same positions for which they have applied. This is a total conflict of interest and raises questions on the fairness of the recruitment process. 

Many applicants have appealed to LG to give the level playing field to all applicants by way of removing all officials from advertised positions which they are holding.  

"Some VC's are deliberately trying to favour incumbents by letting them continue on the same positions," alleged one applicant. "We are writing to LG about it."

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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