On Wednesday, 17th July 2013, the Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) held a dharna outside Vice Chancellor Dinesh Kumar’s office or the Vice Regal Lodge. Believing that the University’s Ad hoc teachers have been discriminated against at several occasions during the previous academic session, DUTA staged this dharna to demand for better working conditions and higher recruitment rates for ad hoc and temporary teachers in the next session, which is to start exactly a week after the protest was held.
The idea behind this demonstation was to ensure some basic labour benefits for ad hoc teachers – like medical leave, maternity leave, vacation salaries, and transitions to permanent teaching appointments. While many believe it to be astonishing that these very basic working conditions aren’t provided to a substantial part of the University’s teaching workforce, the Vice Chancellor’s office did not seem disrupted at all by the strike. No official from the University addressed the gathering, or even made an appearance. After the protest, a few of DUTA’s members compiled all their demands into a memorandum and submitted it at the VC’s office.
‘’No permanent teachers’ appointment has been made during the present Vice chancellor’s tenure. Most ad hoc teachers are losing employment in the new session. Despite the dharna and the memorandum, the VC’s office has not yet responded to any of our demands. We have also staged protests outside Shyam Lal College, whose administration has decided not to retain ad hoc teachers for the new session. Other colleges making similar calls – like Ramjas and PG DAV will also see demonstrations soon’’ said DUTA Vice President Harish Khanna.
The Academics for Action and Development (AAD) – a teacher’s group with similar demands as that of the DUTA staged their protest the next day outside the Vice Chancellor’s office. For the AAD, the main concerns leading to the demonstration was that teachers who have taught in the previous semester may not be retained and ad hoc experience may hold no value during interviews for permanent lectureship.
The University has promised the AAD that deliberations over service conditions of permanent teachers is about to reach a conclusion soon, and as soon as the committee in charge of the same submits its report, the University will begin advertising for positions of permanent appointments. While a similar assurances were made in October last year and at the end of this June, the AAD is expecting a finalization by next month.
Image Credit: Jayati Bhola
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