Taking cue from the Tamil Nadu government’s recent extension of the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 59, faculty of state universities have demanded that their retirement age be extended from 60 to 65, as per UGC norms.
Even though the retirement age of a state or central university faculty, as per University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, should be 65, it is 60 across state universities in Tamil Nadu.
It has been a long-standing demand of state university teachers to extend their retirement age on par with central government employees, but in vain. Teachers say while the state government quotes UGC guidelines when it comes to recruitment, salary and work load, it doesn’t apply the same rules when it comes to their retirement age.
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“In colleges and state universities here, UGC regulations are followed during recruitment, fixing of salaries and work load. Then the retirement age should also be followed accordingly. But the state government is not considering our demand for the past many years,” said J Balasubramaniam, secretary, Tamil Nadu Federation of University Faculty Associations (TANFUFA).
In other states such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the retirement age is 62 for state university faculty, he added.
“Only non-teaching staff of universities will benefit from the Tamil Nadu government’s extension of retirement age. We are planning to meet the higher education minister in this regard, after the lockdown,” said Balasubramaniam.
Fears of guest lecturers
In Tamil Nadu, most of the government colleges have not filled up vacancies for teachers’ post for many years. Currently, more than 1,300 teaching posts are lying vacant across state colleges. In most of the colleges, guest lecturers having an MPhil have been employed.
Expert say if the government extends the retirement age of state varsity teachers to 65, the same is likely to be applicable in state colleges too. Fearing that such an extension will delay their chances of getting absorbed as permanent employees, several guest lecturers have opposed the demand of TANFUFA.
“The average age of a guest lecturer is 40. We get a monthly salary of ₹15,000 only. The colleges don’t pay us salary in April and May due to holidays. Many of us were expecting to be absorbed as permanent employees. Some fear that an extension of retirement age of university faculty will delay the chances of guest lecturers,” said Murugan, president, Tamil Nadu Guest Lecturers Association.
There, however, is a positive side to it, as guest lecturers when absorbed will also reap the benefits of an extended retirement age, Murugan adds.
“Many have also welcomed the demand for extension of retirement age as, if we are employed permanently at the age of 40, we will have remaining 25 years of service left,” he said.
“As per the recent government notification, the retirement age of government college teachers will now be 59. If the state government implements UGC regulation to extend retirement age till 65, it will also be applicable to college teaching staffs. So, guest lecturers need not worry about the delay in their absorption. If it is delayed by one or two years, it will be compensated later,” Balasubramaniam added.
It is to be noted that after 41 years, the state government has increased the retirement age of its employees. The year 1979 was the last time, when then chief minister MG Ramachandran had increased the retirement age from 55 to 58.