Bharathidasan University yet to decide on conducting Refresher Courses

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Bharathidasan University yet to decide on conducting Refresher Courses

The refresher courses for college teachers under the Bharathidasan University may not be held this year. The orientation and refresher courses aided by the University Grants Commission ( UGC ) are crucial for the career growth of the faculty.

However, the absence of vice-chancellor, whose post is lying vacant since July, has marred the conduct of regular programmes. University’s Academic Staff College ( ASC ) holds the refresher courses for teachers every year in November. Though the programme is mandatory for teachers to be eligible for claiming a hike in the academic grade pay ( AGP ), it could be postponed this academic year.

Though, Selvam, the director of ASC, said the classes are tentatively fixed for November 6, an office-bearer of teachers association said it is highly unlikely the refresher courses would be held then.

“No intimation has so far been sent to any of the teachers. It is difficult to get NOC from the colleges if the orientation classes overshoot November, a vacation month for teachers,” said K Pandiyan, vice-president of the Association of University Teachers ( AUT ). Pandiyan has apprised the university registrar ( in-charge ), through a letter dated October 15, about the significance of the refresher courses.

He also informed the registrar that not more than two teachers would be permitted for availing the ‘on-duty’ facility while attending the refresher or orientation courses during working days. But the restriction would be relaxed during the vacation month when more than two teachers could attend from any department, the letter stated.

The refresher courses are usually held in November during the vacation following the completion of two semesters. The ASC was contemplating on postponing the two orientation and three refresher courses. This would “adversely affect the future of several teachers,” Pandiyan said.

Responding to Pandiyan’s letter, on 24th October, 2013 Dr Selvam said : “We are making sincere efforts to conduct the classes, but as of now it is only tentative.”

The UGC is of the view that the refresher courses are essential for college teachers to be trained in teaching methodologies. The Bharathidasan University is at present governed by a three-member vice-chancellor committee comprising two syndicate members and the convener, who is the law secretary of the State.

Since the ASC did not submit the local audit report for the last academic year, further funding was not sanctioned by the UGC for the current year, a highly placed source told TOI. The law secretary too put his foot down saying that the ASC should not take recourse to the general fund of the University, thereby setting a bad precedent, said the source.

However, Dr Selvam denied that money was a problem, and said the established norm was to spend the amount first and then claim it from the UGC.

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