The Punjab government will hire services of College Teacher Interns (CTIs) to overcome shortage of teaching staff at public sector colleges, sources informed on Wednesday.

An officer of the Punjab Higher Education Department said that the process of recruitment of the CTIs had been completed and the scrutiny was underway. He said that the process of recruitment of CTIs was transparent and the college principals forwarded the recommendations on merit. He said that the HED would finalise the scrutinizing process very soon.

“The department has duly advertised the posts of CTIs who will work against vacant lecturers in different colleges across the province. The basic qualification required for CTIs is set as MA/MSc while higher qualification has been given weightage,” the official added.

HED Secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal was not available for comments; however, another senior officer of the department said that the secretary wanted the standards at public sector colleges to be boosted. He said that the past performance of the CTIs reflected that they performed much better showing good results in annual examinations. He rejected the thought that the CITs had been being posted on the directions of the World Bank for stopgap arrangement.

He also rejected criticism that the CTIs worked for seven months only saying all the other regular staff also work for the same period but government had to pay for the whole year. He said that the government would initiate a process to fill vacancies of college lecturers soon through the PPSC. He said that the HED, like other departments, also offered to recruit such interns in colleges to overcome the shortage of teaching staff issue.

He said that the college principals were authorised to make all these temporary appointments in consultation with respective divisional directors of colleges. A college principal confirmed that the selection process was fair.

A CTI candidate, Tahir, said that it was a very good scheme of Punjab government which improves the teaching environment.

However, he suggested that selection criteria might be improved by giving more marks to the MPhil and PhD candidates.

Former secretary Higher Education Ahad Khan Cheema had initiated the program of recruiting CTIs during 2009 that continued afterwards.

The official added that the initial pay for the interns was only Rs8000 that has been increased to Rs30,000. He also said that the unemployed graduates could avail this golden opportunity that was also supportive in the PPSC exams for appointment as regular college lecturers. The experience gained through teaching as CTIs would also be taken into account in case any of the candidates wanted to be appointment as lecturer through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), the officer said.