Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 11:
At a time when the Odisha government is grappling with the scarcity of teaching staff resulting in decline in the standard of higher education, the state government should forthwith increase the retirement age of teachers to 62 to deal with the crisis, a private college teachers’ body demanded.
“The Chief Minister should take immediate measures to raise the superannuation bar to 62 from the existing 60 years so as to create a healthy environment in the higher education system. Besides, it would help arrest the teaching staff crisis to some extent,” the general secretary of All Orissa Non-Government College Teachers and Employees Association (AONGCTEA), Chitta Ranjan Mohapatra said.
With the state government not making any fresh appointments of teachers, a large number of teaching posts are lying vacant in various colleges across the state. The colleges are finding it difficult to cope with the teachers’ scarcity leading to deterioration of the quality of education in these institutions, Mohapatra said.
The AONGCTEA has apprised the Governor, Chief Minister, Higher Education minister, chief secretary and principal secretary of the grim situation on various occasions, but in vain.
The Governor’s recommendation and legislators’ request to the Chief Minister to take necessary steps has fallen on deaf ears causing serious resentment among the teachers, he said.
Besides, the Chief Minister had also directed the Higher Education department to look into the matter.
In June last year, the state government had raised the retirement age of its employees to 60 from 58, fulfilling a long-standing demand benefiting around 500,000 state government employees.
Earlier, the teachers and other staff, including Grade IV employees of government colleges and universities, retired at 58.
Non-government college teachers used to attain superannuation at 60 earlier as they did not get the benefits of gratuity, HRA (house rent allowance) and leave encashment among other things unlike their counterparts in government colleges who retired at the age of 58.
As the state government raised the retirement age of government college teachers to 60, non-government college teaching staff are now demanding a corresponding increase in their retirement age too.