Kolkata: Teachers drop out, Presidency's world-class dream takes a beating

PresidencyIn the past one year, at least nine professors have left the university, some of them in less than a year after being hired

History department's Professor Benjamin Zacariah alleged that he quit because of corruption. "I resigned after I witnessed disregard of all rules in the appointments procedures, reopening of sealed examination papers and victimisation of students who protested against irregularities," he replied to a query from The Indian Express.

But the university administration said that Zacariah was asked to leave following several complaints, a charge the professor denied.

Former principal of Presidency College Amal Mukhopadhyay blamed the flight of talent on loopholes in the system. "The university had promised teachers a higher scale of pay than what the university teachers across India got. That is not possible if you are affiliated with the UGC," he said.

He also alleged that the selection process was not perfect. "Many qualified scholars were even denied an interview. There was no transparency in the hiring process. People were selected because of their research in some field or other but being a researcher and teaching efficiently are two different things. Quite a number of teachers left the university because they were unable to teach."

Mukhopadhyay also blamed the mentor group formed by the government in 2011 to provide a roadmap to make it a world-class university accusing it of barely doing anything.

"The government had appointed a mentor group which has no knowledge of the university. The chairman of the group is from this university but as far as I know he has not set his foot here in the past 30 years. Plans to make it a world-class university overnight is a pipe dream," he said.

Former vice-chancellor of the university, Amita Chatterjee, attributed the problem to non-implementation of statutes because of which there was a confusion among professors about their appointment. "The statute was submitted in April 2011 while the regulations and ordinances were submitted in June 2011 but those had still not been implemented. People who were hired were not aware of their service conditions," she said.

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