The Sub-Committee for academic integrity of the Jaffna University Science Teachers Association (JUSTA) has released a report on the abuses that have occurred in the recruitment processes of the university, where a significant number of highly qualified applicants had been deprived of their entitled opportunities.
In the report titled ‘Discriminating against excellence’, the Sub-Committee of the JUSTA has asserted that it found ‘blatant and endemic’ abuse across several university departments and units in the selection of academic and non-academic staff.
The report notes the most prevalent form of abuse lies in the selection of probationary lecturers (assistant lecturers), where highly qualified candidates holding 1st class degrees have been systematically excluded from consideration or have been denied of positions.
The JUSTA Sub-Committee has also highlighted evidence of systemic abuse and political manipulation for non-academic staff appointments such as Computer Application Assistants and labourers.
“Favours were given to laborer candidates that were denied to highly qualified lecturers whose service the university badly needs,” the report notes.
The academics have attributed the plight to:
- political and personal patronage that operates at all levels of the university’s system
- unwillingness of Senior professors and the administration to challenge it
- Failure of the University Grants Commission to fulfill its responsibilities in the selection of able and independent council members and in the regulation of the administration of universities.
In view of their findings, the JUSTA Sub-Committee has made the following recommendations:
- Review all complaints swiftly and call back the highly qualified applicants excluded at interviews.
- To avoid retaliations on the applicants who have filed complaints, have the cases heard by a Special Review Board appointed in consultation with the Unions
- Appoint independent persons of good reputation with an appreciation of university values to the Council as external members and student representatives and academic staff must be allowed to review their qualifications
- Internal members of the Council should be advised to resign and seek a fresh mandate from their constituencies in the Senate and Faculties
The report notes the implementation of these recommendations would help university processes commence on a fresh slate where most independent internal members are not inhibited from speaking out against cases of abuse and political manipulation.
To read the full document click here