EVEN THOUGH it has been four years since Panjab University launched Institute of Social Science Education and Research (ISSER), it is yet to recruit any permanent teaching faculty member. The institute still runs with a co-ordinator at the helm and no permanent teaching faculty.
The first co-ordinator of the department was Rita Grewal from the department of history. The current co-ordinator is Swaranjit Kaur, a political scientist, who joined on June 1, 2018. On being asked about the teaching faculty, she said, “The students are mostly taught by 20-25 research scholars and faculty members from the University School of Open Learning (USOL) and evening departments.”
“We don’t have any sanctioned strength of permanent faculty because ISSER was set up on the premise that senior professors from various departments will teach here,” she said, agreeing that ISSER is in need of permanent faculty. When asked about the sanctioned faculty strength, she said, “The department has scope of employability as well as student absorption.”
The students too are not happy with the present state of affairs. “We have given requests for permanent faculty to both the former VC as well as the present VC. We have also submitted applications to the co-ordinator but nothing has been done,” said Raj Sukirat Singh, the department representative.
Prachi, a final-year Bachelor’s student, said, “Some of the research scholars are fine, but some aren’t good at all.”
The students complain of being taught four different units of the same subject by four different people. Among other issues they have is the issue of not being taught by senior professors and instead having to study from research scholars. “We were told that professors from all departments will teach but that is not the case. Ninety percent of the times research scholars are sent to teach us, which is unfair,” said a BA final year student, on the condition of anonymity.
The department motivates students towards research. However, the students have a different take on it. “The chairperson is from a political science background. How can she guide us on research in economics or philosophy? Why are we not being provided subject-specific professors who can give us the best guidance?’ asked a
The department runs an integrated five-year course in social sciences with a combined strength of around 200 students.