Retirement age hike to be challenged by Karnataka govt; young faculty irked

Karnataka government has decided to file a writ petition challenging High Court’s order to increase the retirement age of lecturers from 62 to 65 years. The HC has ordered to increase the retirement age of lecturers and professors who are appointed on UGC scales.

Higher education minister V S Acharya said the government will move the division bench with a writ petition challenging the single bench’s directive.  The minister has said that all the government employees retirement age is fixed (60 years) in the state and it cannot be changed for a particular profession.

“Since lecturers and professors are also state government employees, their retirement age cannot be increased in isolation,” said Acharya.

Meanwhile, the decision has irked young lecturers as they now have to wait for five years to get into higher salary bracket.

Moreover, there has been voices protesting against the older lot of teachers who don’t even have the requisite qualifications as per the UGC norms. According to young faculty, 80% of the teachers who have been brought under the UGC scales in 1992 and 1998 have no qualification except a Master’s degree, while the UGC stipulations demand that they should have passed the National Eligibility Test (NET), State-Level Eligibility Test (SLET) or should possess a PhD. But only 20% of the 436 teachers have passed the SLET or NET and only a few are PhDs.

Sources in the Federation of University College Teachers’ Associations Karnataka (FUCTAK) said, “The UGC-stipulated standards of teaching profession can be assured only through the NET. It is tough to pass the qualifying exams and only those teachers who have passed the exams are fit to teach degree students. But the older teachers clinging on to the profession with a knowledge base of 30 years have become a stumbling block in the way of the new generation of teachers.”

A teacher who has passed the NET said, “I am drawing a salary at least 50% lesser than a teacher who is not qualified. There are hundreds like me who are feeling frustrated despite being qualified as per the UGC guidelines.”

The universities and government colleges were scrupulously UGC norm but, in aided colleges, old teachers are prefixing ‘professor’ to their names freely without having the required qualifications.

“Under the present condition, the ideal age for superannuation is 62 in universities and 60 in government and aided colleges. But the state government has made it 62 in some colleges and 65 in some others. The government cannot implement the UGC regulations on a piece-meal basis,” said general secretary TM Manjunath of Karnataka State Government College Teachers’ Association (KSGCTA).

[Source: Times of India, DNA]

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