Thursday, March 29, 2012

Freeze on teacher incentives

Freeze on teacher incentives

The wait for promotion and salary hike may get longer for nearly 3,000 college and university teachers with the debt-ridden state government unable to implement the Career Advancement Scheme approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The finance department has made it clear to the education department that no additional expenditure was possible for teachers' salaries at present. "We will be able to implement the scheme only when we overcome the present financial crisis," a higher education official said.

The Career Advancement Scheme is the only opportunity for college and university teachers to get promoted — from assistant professor to associate professor and from associate professor to professor. Eligibility criteria include number of years in service, a PhD, quality of research work and the number of research papers published. Promotion would also mean a monthly hike of Rs 9,000-10,000.

"Our teachers are losing out, both in terms of money and rank, because of the delay," said Tarun Naskar, SUCI MLA, Jadavpur University teacher and general secretary of the anti-Left All Bengal University Teachers' Association.

"The delay is discouraging and we won't be surprised if good teachers start looking for opportunities outside the state," said another JU teacher. Three teachers have left the JU physics department in the past two years and joined central institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science Engineering and Research and Visva-Bharati.

A professor of Calcutta University agreed that lack of incentives would demotivate teachers and prompt them to quit."The government is talking about setting high academic standards. How can it attract outstanding faculty if it does not ensure financial benefits?" said the teacher.

Teachers alleged that promotions in most universities and colleges have been on hold since 2008. Dilly-dallying by the erstwhile Left Front government had stalled promotions in 2008-2009. There was a freeze on promotions after June 2010 as the UGC formulated its new promotion guidelines.

It is mandatory for state governments to publish a formal order announcing the acceptance and implementation of the guidelines drawn up by the UGC.

The previous government did not publish the order before the Assembly elections and the Trinamul government too has been deferring it ever since coming to power in May last year. Education minister Bratya Basu had given repeated assurances in the face of teachers' protests but he may not be able to keep his word anytime soon.

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