A majority of Tribhuvan University-professors, who go abroad for further studies, especially to earn doctorate degrees, have been found evading their duties even after the end of their leave period.
Currently, the number of professors who have not joined their duties even 90 days after the expiry of their leave-term has already reached 35.
Twenty-nine of them had taken five-year leave for earning doctorate degrees from abroad. Apart from professors, 22 TU employees have also been away from their duties without having their leave-applications approved.
The staff administration department of the TU has already sent the names of 47 professors and employees to the executive council for necessary action. However, the council is yet to take any action against them.
“No university employee can remain absent without prior approval for more than 90 days,” said Surya Bahadur Mulmi, chief of staff administration at the TU.
“The executive council of the TU can sack them.” According to Mulmi, the TU has fired such truant professors and employees in the past as well. “People have general assumptions that the TU never takes any action against them,” Mulmi says. “But, it is baseless. We have fired 181 professors and employees in the past -- from 2060 to 2066 BS to be precise -- for remaining absent without having their leave-applications approved.”
The TU has recently amended its regulation, according to which a professor can take only a maximum of three-year study leave. Until recently, a professor could stay abroad for five years to earn a PhD. During their study-leave, professors regularly draw salaries from the university.
However, having earned doctorate degrees, most of professors do not return. Instead, they start exploring more attractive opportunities elsewhere, severing their ties with the university that helped them receive degrees from prestigious foreign universities.
Although the TU later reclaims all money, its hope of having more qualified professors gets dashed. “Professors can get off the hook by paying back salaries that they received during their leave-period. But, it is morally wrong.
The university encourages its professors to get more qualified. But, it always ends up losing them,” Bhoj Basnet, President of Employees´ Association at the TU.
Prof Dr Madhav Sharma, former Vice Chancellor (VC) of the TU, said, “Once a professor gets a job abroad after earning a doctorate degree there, he does not hesitate to return all the salary he received during his leave-period. If they have more liabilities, then they would be discouraged from doing so.”
Sharma, however, admits that the lack of opportunities commensurate with their accomplishments is also a reason why many of the professors do not rejoin their duties. “We should think of it, too,” he says.
(Source: Republica Nepal)