Panjab University has received communication advising a reconsideration of its proposal to increase the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years. The Union Ministry of Education, in response to PU's attempt to amend its calendar, has suggested engaging with the Punjab government instead of pursuing the matter with the Centre.
The ministry, in a letter from its under-secretary to the PU vice-chancellor, acknowledged the university's request but urged a review in accordance with the existing rules of the Punjab government. This recommendation stems from the alignment of Panjab University's service conditions with those of government employees.
While the Central Service Rules, implemented by the UT administration in 2022, raised the retirement age for teachers in affiliated colleges and Punjab Engineering College to 65, PU's service conditions, guided by its calendar, currently mandate a retirement age of 60.
The discrepancy arises due to PU's unique status as a collaboration between the state and the Centre, as explained by Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) President AS Naura. PUTA intends to address this matter with both the Centre and the Punjab government, emphasizing the need for experienced faculty to address the university's current shortage and safeguard academic standards.
The university's Vice-Chancellor, Renu Vig, asserted PU's autonomy and adherence to UGC regulations. She stated that the retirement age agenda, approved by the syndicate, is under consideration by the regulations committee, and the proposal can be resubmitted if necessary.
Some senators suggest alternatives, such as strengthening the re-employment scheme, allowing teachers to seek re-employment for up to five years. The issue has also reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, with the court granting a stay on the matter's proceedings in response to second-round petitions after dismissing initial petitions by teachers. The reluctance of Punjab to grant a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is rooted in concerns about aligning with the retirement age standard of central universities, while PU teachers express a preference for a higher retirement age without seeking central status.