Who is to be blamed?
The year’s old fame of Delhi University has now turned into sham when thousands of its professors are on roads protesting about the incompetence of university administration. The professors, who have worked relentlessly for years and who have taught the sharpest brains of the country, teach with insecure minds. Approximately 4500 teachers in Delhi University are serving on an ad-hoc basis. This means that they are appointed for a fixed period of 4 months and are reappointed as per the whims and fancies of the college administration.
One of the major reasons for this uproar has been the 28 August circular, which has created a history in itself. Never before had the administration been so cruel to its teachers. The Delhi University assistant registrar in the circular addressed to Principals, Directors, Colleges, and Institutions informed:
“The colleges are…advised to fill up the permanent vacancies at the earliest and till permanent appointments are made, colleges may appoint guest faculty, if required, against new vacancies arising first time in academic session 2019-2020”
This means that the rejoining of the existing 4500 ad-hoc teachers is at stake since the circular clearly states the appointment of guest faculty instead of ad-hoc faculty. The entire teaching fraternity was taken aback. They were earlier hoping for permanent appointments instead of ad-hoc and now they even fear to lose their ad-hoc jobs. Some ad-hoc teachers have been teaching for more than ten years now and have a dependent family. One line of the circular was enough to make them experience sleepless nights.
Here it is important to understand the difference between ad-hoc and guest faculty. The ad-hoc teachers extract a salary as is fixed by the University Grants Commission and are given voting rights equivalent to permanent faculty. Apart from this, they are also involved in all the academic and extracurricular activities of the college/institution. Whereas on the other hand the guest faculty are expected to come, deliver a lecture and go. They are paid a nominal amount per lecture delivered and have no voting rights.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) took the cause of teachers and left no stone unturned to stop the implementation of such draconian circular that deprived teachers of their fundamental right to life and livelihood. Since August, they have been demanding the withdrawal of this circular, but the Vice-Chancellor turned deaf ears. The teachers when went unheard decided to boycott all the Delhi University examination invigilation and evaluation duties and resolved to protest at the VC Regal Lodge. This created a deadlock in the university and without faculty, the colleges are having a tough time in conducting the university final examinations. Who is to be blamed for such ruckus? Did the Vice-Chancellor overlook or is it the administrative inertia? Or is it the politically vested interest of few that have brought the entire education system to a halt? Why is it that whenever the ad-hoc teachers demand permanency, they are instead made insecure about their ad-hoc jobs?
Earlier also, when the voices of ad-hoc teachers strengthened for permanency, the teaching roster was changed from 200 point to 13 point. The reserved category posts as per the 13 point roster would reduce and thus the entire focus and efforts shifted towards getting the 200 point roster back in implementation. After winning this long fight with administration, now when the teachers demanded permanency, they were deprived of their existing jobs and they demanded the continuation of their existing ad-hoc jobs, forgetting about being permanent. Many questions arise. Whether the professors at the most prestigious university deserve such insecurity? Don’t they have a right to life and livelihood? What are the reasons behind the administration’s inaction and government’s delay in filling up the permanent posts? These unanswered questions are probably the reasons for the declining education system in India.
University of Delhi
Feature Image Credits: Yudu Ushanandani