Chandigarh: The issue of faculty shortage in Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) at Amritsar and Patiala has finally been addressed by the state government.
As per a recent report by UNI, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has approved filling up of 153 vacant sanctioned direct quota posts of 42 Professors, 46 Associate Professors and 65 Assistant Professors in the GMCs at Amritsar and Patiala.
The vacancies would be filled up by the departmental selection committee headed by former Director PGIMER, Chandigarh Dr KK Talwar. This will be done under the Punjab Medical Education (Group-A) Service Rules, 2016 after taking these posts out of the purview of the Punjab Public Service Commission.
A total of 46 direct quota posts were created by the committee, on account of proposed super-speciality departments, enhancement in MBBS seats and an increase in bed strength in two hospitals. Consequently, the Medical Education & Research was allowed to fill up 153 posts.
The Committee also recommended that since it was unlikely that all the posts would be filled up in one attempt, the Department of Medical Education & Research may, therefore, be allowed to make repeated attempts till these posts were filled up. It was further recommended by the committee that vacancies arising in future on account of retirement may be allowed to be filled up without approaching the Finance Department and Officers Committee for their approval.
While this approval has given a sigh of relief to the authorities at these medical colleges; the senior faculty sees red.
The main contention of the senior faculty is that with direct recruitment, their students, who are now teachers at private medical institutes, would be able to join as their “seniors”.
According to a recent report by Tribune, while 75 per cent of seats for the seniors are required to be filled from the PCMS cadre through promotions, the remaining 25 per cent quota can be filled through direct recruitment.
“The direct quota appointments are a tool to ensure backdoor entry for kin and relatives of senior officials in the Punjab Medical Education Service (PMES) cadre. They have been working in private colleges where they reach to the position of associate professor within three or four years. On the other hand, a person at a government college is sometimes not promoted for 9-10 years. So in a way there are chances that a student may join at a senior position than his or her teachers,” a senior faculty member explained to the daily.
The faculty pointed out towards the long delay in holding of departmental promotion committee meetings. It stated that because of this delay only which happened in the past, the promotional aspects of teachers at GMCs are adversely affected.
The faculty further went to compare the promotion process with private medical colleges. “Private medical colleges are often liberal with promotions. So they automatically become eligible for a senior position even though they have less working experience than their counterparts in government colleges,” said another faculty member.
Medical Dialogues had been extensively reporting about the faculty shortage issue at Amritsar and Patiala GMCs. In November last year, more than 57 per cent of the medical teachers’ posts were lying vacant in these two medical colleges. Out of 628 posts, a whopping 358 are vacant.
Entry-level positions had the highest number of vacancies that is those of assistant professors with over 70 per cent of vacancy rate.
- Professors: 49 posts vacant out of 154
- Assistant Professors: 201 vacant out of 290 sanctioned posts
- Associate Professors: 108 vacant out of 184 posts
Similarly, the private medical colleges are reeling in faculty shortage as well.