Thiruvananthapuram/Kannur: The higher education sector in Kerala has been in the news for wrong reasons of late. Academic excellence and seniority take a back seat as political influence and nepotism decide the fate of contenders for university employment. For instance the move to appoint Priya Varghese, the wife of K K Ragesh, private secretary to the Chief Minister, as Associate Professor at the Kannur University.
A document obtained through the Right to Information Act reveals she was the last of the six research scholars considered for appointment based on the research scores, but pipped the topper in the rank list after the interview!
Priya had aggregated a research score of only 156, while the topper in the list, Joseph Scaria had a score of 651. After the interview, Priya surpassed Joseph Scaria and topped the rank list. While Priya got 32 marks in the interview, Joseph had 30 marks. C Ganesh, who had a research score of 645 got 28 marks in the interview and the 3rd rank on the list.
The interview was conducted by the panel chaired by Vice Chancellor Prof Gopinath Ravindran.
The research score is allotted based on the candidate’s research papers. However, the performance during the interview decides the final rank for the appointment, the University explains.
Priya, who is a lecturer with Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, is currently the Assistant Director with the Language Institute on deputation.
The Governor had sought the University’s explanation on the appointment of Priya Varghese based on a complaint from the ‘Save the University Campaign’ committee. The RTI document surfaced thereafter.
The campaign committee had earlier alleged that Priya Varghese does not have the requisite eligibility to apply for the Associate Professor’s position.
Joseph Scaria with 15 years of teaching experience allotted 30 marks in the interview and C Ganesh allotted 28 marks, was clearly with an intention to ensure the first rank to Priya, the committee pointed out. The Committee also informed that the documents have been submitted to the Governor.
University delays appointment
Kannur: The appointment of Priya Varghese as the Associate Professor with the Malayalam Department at Kannur University is being delayed.
The Syndicate meeting convened on June 27 had decided to appoint Priya who secured the first rank in the interview to the post. However, the order has not been sent even after one-and-a-half months.
The rank list was prepared by the selection committee chaired by the VC after conducting an interview on November 18. Following the controversies, the University sought legal advice. Finally, after 8 months, the appointment was approved by the Syndicate.
It is being hinted that the University is waiting to see if anyone moves the Court against the appointment. There is no rule on the number of days within which the appointment order must be sent after the Syndicate nod. However, once the appointment order is received, the candidate must join work within 45 days.