The students are protesting against the university’s order to do away with retired faculty who are serving as research guides.
Research scholars at the University of Kerala have started a 24 hour “reading strike” on the Palayam Campus against the university’s decision to do away with the practice of allowing retired teachers to serve as research guides. The striking students allege that the decision, taken in accordance with directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC), has been implemented without any due consideration or consultation with any of the stake holders and has caused confusion. The students have pointed out that there is already an acute shortage of guides for the scholars.
The order was issued by the university on 8 January 2016, and has caused concerns whether it might lead to a decrease in the qualitative aspects of the research work. According to UGC regulations only regular faculty members are eligible to become research guides, and the practice of retired faculty being appointed as guides is a violation of the set rules.
According to a subsequent order issued by the university administration, any retired faculty member who is currently a research guide can continue so as to complete the work till 15 July 2016. Any students, who have been allocated to retired teachers for research beyond July 2016, will be reallocated to serving members of the faculty.
Other aspects of the university order include a limit of a maximum of eight research scholars and five M.Phil scholars per guide at any time. There is also a provision of two extra students who are to be reallocated to a serving faculty member.