TODAY -

A unique way of inducting 31 casual lectureres in government colleges

SK Singh *



During 1996, a strange case of recruiting part time lecturers in government colleges of Manipur took place. Usually such casual employees were engaged in the lower grade of services like clerks, grade IV employees or driver and the likes that too in their ones or two’s.

Here was however a case where lecturers of government colleges which were graded as gazetted officers as it was, had to be inducted as, what was known as, ‘part time’ or ‘casual’ employees. The need was rather urgent. Top colleges were without minimum strength that too mostly in mathematics, physics, English and a few other humanities subjects. And the requirements were not in ones or twos but a whooping 31 in all.

The MPSC which was the recruiting authority for such posts was, for some reason, not functional and had to take time to recommend such lecturers. Left to themselves, the Higher Education Department had to devise ways suitable for such a recruitment process of part time lecturers on an urgent basis. It boiled down to resorting to engagement on casual basis for some months till regular recruitment could be held.

Convention stipulated those days that for casual appointments there was no need for availability of posts against which the engagement could take place. Engagements were made on the premise that posts would be created shortly and regular appointment could take place when the incumbent casual employee stood a better chance of being considered for regular appointment.

A unique methodology of engaging 31 numbers of casual or otherwise called ‘part time’ lecturers in government colleges was thus conceived. Still more unique was the manner of recruitment or engagement of these 31 in several departments in the colleges.

It was not the usual way of the minister in charge of Education calling a name of a candidate, more often from his pocket, scribbled on a piece of paper and his or her engagement order for lectureship issued rather in haste.

He or she was not subjected to any kind of test or assessment of his or her suitability in terms of comprehension and competence of the subject he or she had to teach that too in the best colleges under the government. That obviously turned out to be the most short-circuited methodology of selecting teachers in colleges.

Not anymore that time around; a more refined methodology was then adopted where certain procedures were followed which by any standard, were the first of its kind in the state and could only be termed as ‘unique’. The Cabinet Department was taken into confidence in that a Cabinet Paper was prepared to consider and approve engagement of 31 lecturers, on part time basis in different subjects in the colleges in the state.

Satisfied with the dire need of these lecturers, the non availability of any such posts then, the approval of the Cabinet was accorded for induction as part time lecturers. The selected employees would be paid an honorarium of Rs 1000/- pm and there were no other concomitant benefits or facilities as was normally incumbent upon regular government employees.

Engagement of casual or part time employees under the government with Cabinet approval was itself unique, never done before nor heard ever. More unique ways were in store. Publications or notifications were made through local papers for filling up of such engagement of part time lecturers with dates fixed for recruitment process.

Subject experts were drawn from then serving college teachers for preparation of question papers for a written test and arrangement made for immediate examination of the answer scripts the same day within the confines of the security of the Directorate of Higher Education. The handpicked lecturers of colleges were stayed put in the Directorate premises, got the answers examined instantly for declaration of select list for viva -voce the following day.

Groups of viva-voce tests were conducted the following day to prepare a final list for engagement as part time lecturers. The several sets of interviews were held simultaneously in the directorate in different rooms to short list the best candidates. Select college teachers were pressed into service for the personal interviews. I remember an interesting incident in the interview for mathematics.

The subject expert went headlong in assessing the knowledge of a particular candidate for too long a time as I considered. In the midst of the zeal of the teacher to assess the competence of the candidate vis-a-vis the comprehension of the candidate, the personal interview took unusually long time.

It was at this juncture that I had to intervene requesting the teacher to shorten his probe, in light vein though, as it was only a case of a casual employment. Likewise I could see such healthy interaction taking place on many other tables.

The results of the test were declared the same evening. The approval of the Minister of the department was not sought before the declaration of the select list. This methodology, by itself, was nothing short of being ‘unique’. Most of those selected later on got regular appointed through the MPSC and some even joined the MU, NIT etc.

The selection of casual/part time lecturers, all 31 was accomplished in a most congenial atmosphere, with a system nothing short of complete transparency. The most competent among those applied for were selected without fear or favor. The whole scenario is, without a ray of doubt, unique in all ways.

In later years that followed, these unique methods were scrapped as some kind of rubbish. They took the shorter avenue of appointing instantly bereft of those laborious processes. Such short-circuited engagements in their 100s attracted the wrath of people, questions were put in the House of the Assembly questioning the arbitrariness of the authorities in selecting casual employees.

The fore mentioned ‘Unique’, methodology in 1996 was hunted down, the steps adopted were elaborated only to stake claim that more regular approach was too adopted in the Higher education Department. Well, that was just a way to shield the highly arbitrary mechanism of part time lecturers. The damage had already been caused, history created.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 13 2022.



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