Teachers and educationists across the country finally get a breather after much a long drawn struggle for wage revision. The proposal for a 70 per cent salary hike for college professors finally got the Cabinet’s nod on 15th December 2008. The Cabinet’s sanction for the recommendations of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) Pay Review Committee for teachers, led by Professor G K Chadha, is a promissory relief for more than five lakh teachers in over 400 universities and more than 6,000 colleges. Incidentally, the approval came on a day when around 8,000 teachers in Delhi University started an indefinite strike to demand an increase in their pay.
The UGC panel has also recommended bonus allowances and new positions to teachers in the higher education sector. It has suggested that the age of retirement be raised to 65 years, with a provision of being extendable up to 70 years. Women teachers can now opt for a two to three year sabbatical to raise their children instead of going on a short maternity leave. “All these proposals come in the light of preventing ‘stagnation’ in their careers and also to attract youngsters to take up teaching as a serious profession,” says Sanjay Kumar, a professor in Delhi University.
The UGC committee has advocated the introduction of new positions, like senior associate professor, senior professor and professor of eminence. At the entry level, a faculty member will join as an assistant professor instead of a lecturer. While a lecturer’s pay scale previously ranged fom Rs.8,000 to Rs.13,500, it will now lie between Rs.15,600 to Rs.39,100 for assistant professors. Similarly, the committee has recommended a new pay band of Rs.37,400 to Rs.67,000 for professors against the existing scale of Rs.16,400 to Rs.22,400. A vice-chancellor will get a fixed amount of Rs.80,000 per month against the present package of Rs. 25,000.They are also rewarded with an additional allowance towards house rent, transport, special duty, travel and medical expenses. The panel has also recommended amendments to the teacher-assessment process. It is suggested that students get a chance to evaluate their teachers and they will be judged on the basis of the number of research papers they publish.
The UGC panel report, even though it was submitted to the ministry in October this year, could not be taken to the Cabinet earlier because of the model code of conduct having come into effect after the announcement of Assembly Elections in five states.