Monday, April 22, 2024

KU faces shortage of non-teaching staff, over 500 posts vacant since 2016

KU faces shortage of non-teaching staff, over 500 posts vacant since 2016

Suhail Bhat

SRINAGAR Oct 22: The University of Kashmir is grappling with a shortage of non-teaching staff, with over 500 positions remaining vacant since 2016 due to lack of recruitment. The staff deficiency is directly impacting the Varsity’s ability to fulfil its academic and administrative responsibilities.

University officials privy to the details said that out of the total 2,450 sanctioned non-teaching positions, including those on satellite campuses, only 1,900 are currently occupied. The remaining 550 positions have been vacant since 2016, primarily due to retirement of employees.

This issue is compounded by an annual exodus of 70-80 non-teaching employees retiring, further exacerbating the staffing vacuum. Several university departments are particularly hard-hit by this crisis, notably the Watch and Ward section, sanitation, hostels, examination wing, and landscape division, all of which are grappling with 30-40 vacancies each.

The administrative block, Alama Iqbal Library, and the research centre are also affected, with nearly 100 technical positions remaining unoccupied. These vacant positions encompass roles such as laboratory assistants, lab attendants, junior technical assistants, professional assistants and computer assistants.

The vacancies have significantly impacted the science department, hampering critical research work. “Some heads of departments have had to engage ad hoc assistants to compensate for the staff shortage, while in other cases, HODs are forced to take on clerical duties due to the lack of essential support,” a senior Professor said.

The issue extends to the Physical Education Department, where critical roles, including the women’s gym coach and sports assistant, remain unfilled, posing risks to the safety of female students. “If the current trend of positions going vacant continues, it is projected that nearly 50 percent of positions will remain unoccupied,” a Professor said.

He said that non-teaching staff members play a vital role in the university’s operations and research activities. However, he said, this issue has been neglected since 2016, with no recruitment efforts taking place.

Despite the university’s efforts to address the issue by advertising nearly 80 positions in May this year, an official revealed that the recruitment process has seen limited progress. “The university released various notices this year to fill up multiple vacancies, including Junior Assistants, Legal Assistants and Research Assistants. However, the process has stagnated for undisclosed reasons,” he said. He added that non-teaching positions typically follow a straightforward procedure involving only a written test, with no interviews required.

The delay in the recruitment process has led to growing frustration among applicants, who anxiously await the scheduling of examinations and the finalisation of appointments. “I have been diligently preparing for the exams over the past five months, but unfortunately, there have been no significant developments. I sincerely hope that the recruitment process is expedited to alleviate the concerns of aspiring candidates,” one such applicant from Budgam said.

Nelofar Khan, Vice Chancellor of the University, said that her top priority is to fill the vacant posts. “We were busy with the University convocation, and now that we have successfully completed it, we will begin filling up the vacant posts from next month,” she added

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