Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Institute for the Physically Handicapped,which offers four-year bachelor-degree courses in physical and rehabilitation medicine,has just two designated faculty members to teach over 500 students.
The central government institute under the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry,since its affiliation to Delhi University in 1990,has an assistant professor and a lecturer to teach students in three disciplines – occupational therapy,physical therapy,and prosthetics and orthotics.
Given the shortage,it is the institutes non-teaching staff who have been taking most of the classes.
The institute sent to the Union ministry a proposal for creation of about 27 posts of new faculty members in April this year. But this was to be followed with a corresponding abolition of existing,non teaching posts,which reportedly delayed the process.
Since last week,the faculty association has been holding silent protests,demanding the authorities to expedite the recruitment process.
Students of the institute,angry at the governments attitude towards this crucial branch of physical medicine,have also demanded that new teachers should be recruited at the earliest.
The institutes faculty members teach as well as provides OPD services for those who need rehabilitation therapy. The same set of people are saddled with both jobs. This means our classes are often compromised, a fourth-year student of occupational therapy said.
If a similar thing happens at any other government medical school,will it be ignored? Our classes are often canceled if the teacher is busy with patients, he said.
Out-patient services are offered from 9 am to 5 pm,forcing senior staff to take classes only during the afternoon hours – if at all they free.
The students said the situation has been worsening over the years. We have to rely on junior-level technical staff for our theory classes. Are they qualified enough to teach us? Since my first year,the number of students has been increasing steadily,but faculty posts have not gone up, a third-year student of physical medicine said.
The faculty members alleged that the institute was violating UGC norms on student-teacher ratio and pay scales for teachers,despite being affiliated to Delhi University.
This is an example of mockery of higher education and distribution of degrees by overlooking the standard of education at an institution which is located close to the UGC office, a statement from the faculty association says.
It says: Teaching depends on the obligations of technical and clinical staff of the institute. This leads to poor teaching and usually partial completion of syllabus.
The association claims that the teaching staffs pay scale is equivalent to that of primary schoolteachers.
The administration admitted that it has not been able to recruit faculty on a par with UGC norms,but efforts have been being over the past three years to create new posts. We got the green signal this April to recruit new faculty members. We will soon begin the process, an official said.
We invited the the staff inspection unit to inspect the institute in 2009 before starting our postgraduate courses. The unit recommended creation of about 23 new faculty posts,but at the cost of abolishing 90-odd junior posts, an official said,adding this would have meant throwing out at least 50-odd staff members.
The institute had suggested the ministry that instead of sacking the junior staff,they should be allowed to continue until retirement and then abolish the posts.