‘Madras university ignored professor recruitment norms’

CHENNAI: The evaluation of the quality of professors recruited as well as those who have gone through the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) at University of Madras in the past 4-5 years remains a question mark. This is, replies to a RTI application show, because the university has failed to adopt key University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations formulated to maintain a particular standard while appointing academics.

The regulations, framed in 2010, say every university should draw a comprehensive list of nationalregional level journals of high quality in every subject as well as a list of Indian language journalsperiodicals by appointing International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) experts. The University’s internal quality assurance cell (IQAC) is responsible for this.

These lists are to be provided to committees in charge of selectionpromotion of professors so that quality of candidates’ research output can be assessed before their interviews.

In response to an RTI petition filed on November 17, 2016, by Dr Syed Rahamatullah, a former professor of University of Madras, the registrar said the IQAC had not finalised these lists of journals.

The IQAC is a 15-member committee which is chaired by the vice-chancellor.

Another quality assessment tool recommended by the UGC is the academic performance indicator (API), used for Performance Based Appraisal System (PBAS) for recruitment. Every member of the staff, like assistant professor, associate professor and professor, is to have a benchmark API that is calculated using a UGC regulation. Candidates have to get this minimum score to be eligible for selection.

This regulation also has been avoided by UNOM. To a RTI petition filed by Rahamatullah in July 2015, the registrar replied that IQAC had not computed any API scoring for any staffer in the past three years.

Professor SP Thyagarajan, a former vice-chancellor of the university , said the quality of the candidate’s publication had to be sub stantiated through the list of high-quality journals, an important part of hisher assessment. “All universities are duty bound to adopt it for maintaining the overall quality of research and development,” he said.

 A former Madras University syndicate member told TOI that flouting of these regulations was responsible for the drop in quality of professors, with money upstaging all other UGC guidelines.

Had selection committees been properly constituted, the dilution in standard of professors appointed could have been checked even in the absence of the UGC regulations, said a senior syndicate member.


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