Khallikote University, which stands as one of the oldest educational hubs in Odisha, is grappling with the shortage of teachers even though the government accorded unitary varsity status to the institution in February 2020.
Now, education seems to have taken a backseat in the university owing to dearth of regular teaching faculties. Out of 88 posts allotted for regular teaching faculties in 18 departments, 56 posts are lying vacant. With the crunch of permanent teachers, the university is being run by 53 guest faculties only.
According to sources, there are 88 lecturers’ posts available in the varsity but only 22 regular lecturers are imparting teaching to students. Moreover, nine lecturers have been appointed on adhoc basis. As a result, the departments facing the teaching staff crunch are being taken care of by the guest lecturers.
On the other hand, some guest faculties alleged that the varsity authorities sacked them on May 1 without giving prior notice to them. The sacking of guest faculties also led to resentment among students who claimed that teachers’ crunch would adversely affect their education.
“As guest faculties are not available now, our courses won’t be finished on time. It would be difficult for us to appear for examination with incomplete courses,” said a student, Bikash Maharana.
Another student Subham Pattnaik said, “The number of guest faculties was more than permanent faculties at our varsity. With the sacking of the guest faculties overnight, our education will go haywire for sure.”
A guest faculty Bibhuti Bhusan Patra alleged, “The varsity authorities have sacked as many as 53 guest faculties all of sudden, violating UGC guidelines.”
Many outfits have also staged dharna protesting the firing of guest faculties.
Bharatiya Vikash Parisad president Surendra Panigrahi said, “All we want the varsity authorities to reappoint 53 guest faculties who have been sacked. That apart, the authorities must take initiative to reappoint 50 non-teaching staff who were sacked earlier on March 31, 2022.”
When contacted, Khallikote University vice-chancellor Prafulla Kumar Mohanty said, “The guest faculties were given appointment through telephonic calls. They were not issued any official paper during appointment. Thus, we let them know about their dismissal over telephone only. New guest faculties have been recruited in their place. Thus, education would not be hampered at all.”