HYDERABAD: Prof Sunaina Singh of the Department of English, Osmania University, has been appointed vice-chancellor of the English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu) and she will be taking charge on Monday. The Eflu has been facing a number of problems, including severe shortage of teaching staff, due to the absence of a regular vice-chancellor for the past two years.
Incharge vice-chancellor Prof R Amritavalli confirmed Prof Sunaina Singh’s appointment. “We received the intimation on May 11 at around 6 p.m and we have passed on the appointment orders to Prof Singh. She will be taking charge as Eflu vice-chancellor around 10.30 a.m on Monday. We are all very excited about this,” she said.
Prof Amritavalli, who has been the incharge vice-chancellor of the university, said she would continue to be the senior most faculty member and serve the university as a professor in the Department of Linguistics. Lavishing praises on Prof Singh, she said, “Prof Singh is a very gracious person and she is from OU. We will extend our full cooperation to help her take the university to greater heights.”
Prof Sunaina Singh is currently the head of the Department of English and is also the director of the English Language Teaching Centre and the Canadian Studies Centre at the Osmania University. “Taking charge of the English and Foreign Languages University is a big challenge. My aim, as I take charge, is to overcome all the challenges facing the university and take it forward,” she told City Express.
Significantly, students of the Eflu who had been waging a relentless battle of sorts for the appointment of a regular vice-chancellor, welcomed Prof Singh’s appointment. Most of them seemed happy with the decision though some pointed out that two precious years had been wasted. “Come June, we might have been “celebrating” two years without a regular vice-chancellor. But the decision has come at the right time,” said Rajesh Kumar, a PhD scholar. Expressing similar views, Ramakrishna, an MA student, said, “appointing a professor from OU, who must have been aware of all the crises in EFL university, is a welcome move. We hope the new vice-chancellor brings with her all the solutions for our problems and wish her all the best.”
The term of the last regular vice-chancellor Prof. Abhay Maurya had ended in June 2010 and since then, the varsity has seen incharge VCs in Prof. Mohammad Miyan of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University and Prof R Amritavalli, the senior most faculty of EFL university.
The three-member search committee, which was the second such committee formed to find the best candidate as the regular vice-chancellor for ELFU, was headed by Prof. Narendra Jadhav, former vice-chancellor, University of Pune, and Planning Commission member, and had University of Hyderabad former vice-chancellor Prof. Goverdhan Mehta and its former dean of students’ welfare Prof. Rama Rao as its members.
Shortage of staff-the biggest challenge
The Eflu has 11 schools with each having at least two or three departments. However, because of the absence of a regular vice-chancellor, recruitment of professors has stopped in the last two years leading to shortage of teaching staff in almost half of the schools. Students and professors of the varsity are unanimous in their opinion that shortage of teaching staff is the biggest challenge facing the new vice-chancellor.
Expressing his concern, Prof Abhishek Raushan of the Department of Hindi admitted that running various programs had become extremely difficult. “There has been no recruitment since 2010 when the last VC’s term ended. It is extremely difficult to run a department like this,” he said.
Similarly, Prof Nishant K Narayanan of the German Department, said, “we need more professors for the courses we offer. We have BA and MA courses for which we are currently having six faculty members but we need more.” Acknowledging the shortage of teaching staff, Prof Harish Kumar Vijra of the Russian Department too said, “we are running short of three professors and currently, have to manage with eight faculty members. Due to the absence of a regular vice-chancellor, there has been no allocation of funds for exchange programs too which were active till the break up of the Soviet Union.” He recalled that there existed a memorandum of understanding regarding exchange programs between India and Russia but that it was not operational at the moment.
The School of Communication Studies had to scrap its BA program last year due to lack of faculty members and infrastructure. Hoping for a better future, Prof Nagamallika said, “We are developing the infrastructure required to start the course again. We are currently facing shortage of teachers and we have filed a petition for around five more professors in the 12th plan. We currently have only four faculty members.” Worse is the problem in the Spanish Department.