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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: In saddling with huge vacancies of lecturers in the country, Odisha figured fourth from bottom among the 21 major states, including Assam.

Another worrying trend to the fore is Odisha had seen closure of as many as 27 colleges between 2010-11 and 2018-19, when the nation saw addition of a massive over 6,070 colleges.

An analysis of data released by the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) - 2019 has revealed that Odisha along with states like Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan are the only four states that show a dip in the in-position strength of lecturers over the last 7-years (2012-13 to 2018-19).

Sample this. The number of in-position lecturers in the colleges in Odisha in 2012-13 stood at 28,749. The strength in 2018-19 stood at 26,265. The vacancies of lecturers in Odisha during the period 2015-16 to 2018-19 stood at a whopping 3,476. Similarly, the vacancies at the level of Readers or Associate Professors during the period of 2012-13 to 2018-19 stood at a high of 1,367.

Now, consider this. Kerala, which has proven track record in qualitative higher education in the country, has added a massive 12,324 lecturers during the period 2012-13 to 2018-19.

Significantly, many BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) states have performed creditably than Odisha in recruiting lecturers. When Bihar has added 1,451 lecturers during the period, UP has added 13, 513 between 2012-13 and 2018-19. Only MP and Rajasthan showed a poorer record than Odisha. Strife-torn J&K too has also increased the in-position lecturer strength during the period.

As per the data available with the State Higher Education Department, against the sanctioned lecturer posts totaling 2,306 in the 52 government degree colleges, the in-position strength was only 1,004 in 2018-19.

The scenario is worse in government-aided colleges, revealed the data. The sanctioned lecturer posts in the 598 aided colleges stood at 6,364. And the vacancies stood at a high of 1,666.

The State higher Education department data also revealed that around 23 government colleges have no principals.

In order to tide over the human resources shortfall, the State Higher education department has appointed temporary teaching staff to tide over the classroom crisis. Odisha has appointed 332 temporary teachers during the period of 2012-13 to 2018-19.

In contrast, the appointment of temporary teachers to manage the classroom imperatives is not the trend nationally.  The country has seen a dip in appointment of temporary teachers to the tune of 2,339 between 2012-13 and 2018-19.

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