Patna: With their gradual retirement and the inordinate delay in fresh recruitments, teachers in colleges and universities of Bihar have become “endangered” species. Very few teachers are available today to guide students.
In the last two decades, the number of teachers has declined considerably in postgraduate (PG) departments of several universities. Patna University (PU) geology department, which had at least 16 teachers during the 1990s, is left with four teachers today. While Persian department has only one teacher, the departments of Philosophy and Mathematics are manned by two teachers each. Most of the undergraduate (UG) departments of different PU colleges are managed by one teacher each.
The new University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations provide for ensuring at least one teacher for every 10 students at the PG level and one for every 25 students at the UG level. However, the teacher-student ratio is far from satisfactory in the colleges and universities of the state. There are nearly 10 lakh students in 300 constituent colleges and 10 universities but the total number of teachers In Bihar is only 6,000. Thus, there is one teacher for more than 160 students.
All colleges and PG departments are facing acute shortage of teachers as no appointments have been made for the last 18 years. In PU, there are only 350 teachers to teach more than 18,000 students while in Magadh University, there are less than 2,000 teachers for two lakh students.
Norms laid down for teachers’ workload require 16 hours of direct teaching in a week for assistant professors, 14 hours for associate professors and 12 for professors. But a professor is engaging more than 20 classes per week due to shortage of hands. Consequently, the quality of teaching in some premier institutions of the state has been adversely affected.
Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar working president Kanhaiya Bahadur Sinha and general secretary Sanjay Kumar Singh said the state government had drastically curtailed the earlier sanctioned teaching posts in the name of so-called rationalization of posts. The government’s claims of improving the standard of higher education and imparting quality education to students would fall flat if the teacher-student ratio did not improve, they added. They also demanded the immediate appointment of teachers for improving the overall academic scenario of the state and to increase the gross enrolment ratio in higher education.