Central University of Karnataka violates UGC guidelines in teaching faculty recruitment

On scrutiny, many inconsistencies were found in the applications concerning at least eight departments. Recruitments were done arbitrarily violating the requirements of UGC guidelines.

UGC
KALABURAGI ( GULBARGA ) KARNATAKA , FEBRUARY 15 , 2020 : Administrative Building of Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi.

KALABURAGI: Central University of Karnataka (CUK), the only central university in the State, has glaringly violated standard norms and guidelines set by University Grant Commission (UGC) in the ongoing process of recruiting 67 Professors and Associate Professors for its 30 departments, which includes 5 backlog posts in its 5 departments.

The UGC, in its public notice dated September 16, 2019, has clearly notified all the universities across the country that “the old UGC Approved List of Journals has been replaced with the new UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals (UGC-CARE List) and with effect from 14th June, 2019 research publications only from the journals indexed in UGC-CARE List should be considered prospectively for any academic purpose.”

 

UGC-notification_UGC-CARE-list UGC notification

It also advised “the Vice-Chancellors, Selection Committees, Screening Committees, research Supervisors and all/ any expert(s) involved in academic/ performance evaluation and assessment” “ensure that their decisions in the case of selections, promotions, credit-allotment, award of research degrees etc must be based on the quality of published work rather than just numbers or a mere presence in peer-reviewed or in old UGC approved List of Journals.”

Within a week of the issuance of UGC public notice, the CUK issued a notification (No.26/2019) on September 25, 2019, inviting applications for the recruitment of 67 Professors and Associate Professors for its 30 departments. The notification separately set a set of eligibility criteria for the post of Professor and Associate Professor which included the publication of a minimum of 10 research publications in the peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals for Professor post and a minimum of 7 publication of research work in the peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals for Associate Professor post. It also adhered to the changed UGC guidelines on the research publications to be considered for the selection of the candidates by clearly mentioning, in point number 56 under the sub-heading of General Information, that “the calculations of academic/research score shall be as per the UGC letter no. F.1-1/2018 (journal/CARE) dated 16.09.2019 regarding the publications as per the UGC CARE List, wherever applicable”. It was thus clear that only those research papers published in UGC CARE List journals were considered.

Therefore, many aspirant candidates who did not have the required number of research papers published in UGC-CARE List journals did not apply as they rightly thought that they were ineligible for the post. However, there were many others who did apply even though they did not have the required number of research papers published in UGC-CARE List journals. Instead of rejecting such ineligible candidates who did not have enough number of research papers published in the UGC-CARE List journals, the scrutiny committee, however, considered them for the next level of selection process – the interview – and meted out a huge injustice to those who took the eligibility criteria in the notification serious and did not apply.

The UGC guidelines including one on the research publications to be considered were strictly followed by the expert committees that scrutinised the applications for the posts in certain departments including Geology, Geography, Linguistics and Physics. 14 candidates had applied for the post of Associate Professor in Geography and 7 applied for the same post in Geology. Since they did not meet the eligibility criteria including the one on the number of research papers in UGC-CARE List journals, all of them were declared Not Eligible. In the Linguistics department, 2 candidates were declared Eligible and 10 Not Eligible. In the Physics department, 4 were declared Eligible and 5 candidates Not Eligible. The scrutiny committees here were unambiguous in declaring candidates eligible or ineligible on clear grounds leaving no room for any misconstruction.

However, other expert committees that scrutinised the applications for the posts in other departments including Computer Science, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Life Sciences, History and Archaeology, Tourism and Hotel Management, Education, Commerce, Economics Studies and Planning and Business Studies blatantly violated the UGC guidelines, particularly its directive on the research papers to be considered. In contrast to the clear decision of scrutiny committees that looked into the applications in Geology, Geography, Linguistics and Physics departments, these scrutiny committees considered ineligible candidates who did not meet eligibility criteria such as the required number of research papers published in UGC-CARE List journals and required years of past experience and made conditional selection by putting a star in front of their names and a remark “subject to submission of publication evidence as per UGC norms” and “subject to submission of past service documents…”

Superficially, the scrutiny committees which had experts as its members did not adopt uniform parameters to shortlist the candidates for the interview. The examination of the scrutiny documents revealed that some applicants are made Eligible and while others who are equally competent and meritorious were made Not Eligible for the next level of the recruitment process. Though both sets of candidates are equally short of the needed and desirable qualifications as per the terms of university notification and UGC guidelines, one set of candidates were declared eligible for the interview with twisting remarks apparently to extend undue favours to them.

Smelling the violation of UGC guidelines and the university notification in the scrutiny process, Mr. Ganapati Sinnoor raised the issue in the 49th meeting of the Executive Council (EC), the highest governing body of the university, held on November 14, 2019. The EC discussed the issue and “resolved to consider the matter on quality parameter also as suggested by UGC letter No.F.1-1/2018 (Journal/CARE) dated 16th September 2019 (Para No.2)”.

The Academic Council (AC), another statutory body of the university, did not meet to discuss the issue. However, the UGC letter No.F.1-1/2018 (Journal/CARE) dated 16th September 2019 circulated among its members through email and sought their comments and suggestion. A few members endorsed the UGC letter in response.

Yet, some of the scrutiny committees, defying the EC and AC, continued to violate the UGC letter dated 16th September 2019 which categorically advised considering only those research papers published in UGC-CARE List journals for the recruitment as well as the university’s recruitment notification which also incorporated UGC guidelines specified in the UGC letter dated 16th September 2019 to frame the eligibility criteria on the research papers to be considered.

For example, the candidate bearing the application number 5158110SECU who applied for the post of Associate Professor in the department of Economics Studies and Planning did not have any research paper published in UGC-CARE List journals and, hence, was rejected “for the want of seven research articles” published in UGC-CARE List journals and he was declared Not Eligible in the list published on December 10, 2019. However, other candidate bearing the application number 5135710SECU who applied for the same post in the same department also did not have any research paper published in UGC-CARE List journals but was declared as Eligible in the same eligibility list.  When the former objected the biased move of the scrutiny committee, he too was later made Eligible for the interview in the list published on February 04, 2020. The scrutiny committee gave clear reasons for the rejection of the candidate on December 4, 2019. However, it did not give any reason for the selection of the same candidate when it revisited the application on December 19, 2019.

In another example, the applicant bearing the application number 10086110SCHU with serial number 39 in the eligibility list dated 23-12-2019 for the post of Associate Professor (Chemistry) has been declared Eligible with remarks “subject to the submission of publication evidence as per UGC norms”. However, another applicant bearing the application number 5076610SCSE with serial number 13 in the eligibility list dated 04-12-2019 for the post of Associate Professor (Computer Science) has been declared Not Eligible with remarks “Subject to submission of publication evidence as per UGC norms”.

As per the recruitment notification, a minimum of eight years of teaching experience as Assistant Professor in the relevant subject is another criterion for the post of Associate Professor. However, there are many instances where candidates who did not meet the requirement were selected for interview.

For example, the candidate bearing the application number 5186610SGEU who applied for the post Associate Professor in the Department of Geology was rejected in the scrutiny process as the candidate did not have required teaching experience. However, the candidate bearing the application number 5105010SECU who applied for the Associate Professor post in the department of Economics Studies and Planning too did not have required teaching experience and yet declared eligible “subject to the submission of past service documents as per UGC norms”.

In another example, a candidate bearing the application number 5702510SLIS who applied for the post of Associate Professor in the Department of Life Sciences was declared Not Eligible as “past service documents [were] not as per UGC norms”. However, another candidate bearing the application number 5146910SLIS who applied for the same post in the same department too did not meet the required teaching experience and yet declared Eligible “subject to the submission of past service documents”.

In one more example, the candidates with application number 5680410SECE and 5037110SECE who applied for the post of Associate Professor in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering did not meet the past service eligibility criterion and were rightly declared Not Eligible as “past service documents not as per UGC norms”. However, the candidate with application number 5219110SECE who applied for the same post in the same department too did not meet the past service eligibility criterion, but was declared as Eligible “subject to the submission of past service evidence as per UGC norms”.

All the 11 candidates in these five instances were essentially ineligible as per the UGC guidelines and terms of university’s recruitment notification, but some are selected and others are rejected for the interview. Such inconsistencies are abundantly found in the scrutiny of applications concerning at least eight departments.

While declaring the ineligible candidates eligible, the scrutiny committees, which have experts as their members, and the university administration have cleverly put such remarks as “subject to submission of publication evidence as per UGC norms”, “subject to submission of past service evidence as per UGC norms” and “final eligibility may be decided by the competent authority”. This essentially means shifting their responsibility to others, who will not be subject experts and competent in ensuring that all the eligibility criteria such as the required number of research papers published in UGC-CARE List and the required teaching experience are met.

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