16 new Central universities across the country battling faculty crunch
ALOK KUMAR
[email protected]
 
New Delhi, 3 September
The UPA government’s highly publicised 16 new Central universities across the country that were set up in 2009 are facing acute faculty shortage. 
The objective of opening these Central universities was to provide educational opportunities to people residing in remote locations. However, motivating good faculty to move to these locations in order to maintain a healthy student-teacher ratio is now a major source of worry for the mandarins of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
Despite the fact that the new entry pay scale and promotional avenues for a teacher in a Central University are better than that of a civil servant, these universities are battling with 40 per cent faculty crunch, said a senior official, explaining that highly qualified teachers are loath to go to distant parts of the country.
The reluctance of  qualified teachers to move to these places, he said, is on account of two prime reasons. The first is related to the future of their children and spouses. They  doubt  their children will  get quality education and their spouses suitable jobs at those remote places where these new universities are located.
The second reason, perhaps the more potent one, said the MHRD official, is that the freshly recruited faculty for these universities will be deprived of the old pension scheme they are currently working under and will have to switch to the new one introduced since 2004.
However, the  most serious challenge faced by these institutions is to recruit faculty for senior positions, like the posts of associate professor and professor, mainly because of factors that inhibit faculty mobility.
Under the currently existing rules, those under GPF-cum-pension scheme will not be allowed to continue in the same scheme after joining new Central institutions established on or after 1 January 2004.
Ironically, the same faculty, if appointed, will be allowed to retain GPF-cum- pension in old Central Universities (established before 31 December 2003) as well as state universities established before that date and later upgraded to the status of Central University.
The reason as stated by UGC is that “there is no provision for carrying the pension scheme of parent organisation when the organisation itself does not have a pension scheme”.