Pradeep Pattanayak

Almost all the 18 government universities including Utkal Culture University and Madhusudan Law University are currently grappling with the shortage of faculty. 

If a reply to an RTI query is anything to go by, while eight lecturers as against the sanctioned 29 posts are managing the show at the Utkal University of Culture, all the 50 sanctioned teaching posts are lying vacant at the Madhusudan Law University. 

The Utkal University of Culture is set up on 45 acres of land at a cost of crores of rupees. While over 50 colleges are under this university, as many as 21 departments are functioning from its own campus.  

Unfortunately enough, as against the total 29 sanctioned lecturer posts, 21 posts are lying vacant for the last eight years. As a result, the university is heavily counting on guest faculties. 

Because of this staff crunch, the evaluation of papers of the examination held last year has not been done yet. Similarly, Ph.D. aspirants’ entrance test and viva-voce test have already been held but when the results will be out is anyone’s guess. 

The university authorities have taken up the matter with the government on several occasions but it yielded no results. 

“We have not seen any permanent faculty since our admission. We hope for better days ahead,” said Basundhara Parida, a student of the Utkal University of Culture. 

“The number of government teacher posts is 29. Of them, we are now managing with nine teachers. To fill up the remaining posts, we have already published advertisements,” said Prasan Kumar Swain, Vice Chancellor, Utkal University of Culture. 

As per the written reply of the Higher Education Minister, Rohit Pujari to a question raised by MLA Kusum Tete in the Assembly, all the 50 sanctioned posts of Madhusudan Law University are lying vacant.  The moot question at the heart of the matter is how education is being imparted to the students. 

“We don’t have government-appointed faculty. Only guest faculties are teaching us,” alleged Sibesh, a student of MS Law College. 

Giving vent to her ire, another student, Shruti said, “All the faculties are guest faculties. They can’t teach as confidently as the permanent faculties once used to do when our institution used to be a college.”

When asked, Registrar of Madhusudan Law University, Nirupama Swain said, “After we took up the matter with the government, the latter has sanctioned six professor, 12 associate professor and 24 assistant professor posts. This is pending with the OPSC.  We have requested for immediate postings.” 

The overall situation has painted a gloomy picture. In Odisha, there are 18 government and six private universities. Of the total 1,720 sanctioned teacher posts at government universities, 1,005 posts are currently lying vacant. Similarly, of the total 2,639 non-teaching posts, 1,534 posts are lying vacant. 

From this, the sorry state of affairs in university-level education in the State can be well understood. 

(Reported by Goutam Panda and Chandan Paikray, OTV)