On 4 November 2023, Ramjas College students gathered to protest against the ad-hoc crisis in the college’s English department, expressing concern over the displacement of 8 out of 10 ad hoc professors. Their collective demand echoes a call for transparency, academic stability, and integrity within the educational framework.

In a resolute display of solidarity, students from Ramjas College’s English Department organised a gathering to protest against the displacement of 8/10 ad hoc professors of the department on Monday, 4 November, 2023. Gathering in the Eco Lawns of the college, the rally circled the campus, culminating in a demonstration at the Principal’s Office. The college administration responded by summoning police forces to contain the protest. The protest garnered support from students from various departments of Ramjas College and was endorsed by student organisations such as the Student Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Students Association (AISA).

In a post shared by the Instagram handle Ramjas Reading Room, the protest called upon immediate action to address the following:

  1. Halt Unjust Displacements
  2. Preserve Academic Integrity
  3. Prioritize Faculty Well-Being

Vociferous slogans and heartfelt messages were raised during the protest as student were overcome with anger and anguish amid the state of things.  A student from Ramjas’ English Department, who wishes to stay anonymous, shared,

The English Department has been one of the most active departments in Ramjas. For most of these professors, teaching, while being a passion, is also a source of sustenance. They are still processing the grief of what has happened.

The protest is being held against the backdrop of the displacement of ad hoc professors from departments across colleges at Delhi University. In Ramjas College, the first department affected by this issue was the Zoology Department last year. Many have alleged that the process of interviewing, retention, and displacement of ad hoc professors is opaque, leading to highly qualified and experienced professors losing their jobs.

Utilising platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, students of Ramjas College effectively mobilised support by urging their peers and even past alumni who are working across the globe to join the cause. The protest featured images of these iconic figures, such as Tagore and Gandhi, and included books taught by the displaced teachers. The student political groups that had joined submitted a memorandum seeking transparency in the interview process and the retention of ad hoc professors.

According to our sources, the college has made no response to the students’ demands as of yet. Expressing their state of despair and hopelessness at the system, a final year student from the English Department, commented, 

We have lost that last sense of connection with the department. It has become a foreign space for us; the college is a necropolis. How will we ever go back to Room No. 12, the department room? The displaced professors have shared our paintings and poems on their Instagram posts and stories. But we only know what we have lost.

Read also: Faculty Displacement at IPCW: Impact on Students and Academic Integrity

Featured Image Credits:  Aaryan Marcha, student at Ramjas College

Injeella Himani
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Delhi University has opened applications for filling up vacancies for vacant posts for both Assistant and Full Professor Positions. 

Amidst the ongoing ad-hoc crisis, a notification has been released by the University of Delhi (DU) for the appointment of various posts for the faculty vacancies, including both professors and assistant professors. The recruitment process will take place through the official website of Delhi University, and candidates eligible for the same can apply through the website du.ac.in

The recruitment process is estimated to fill up to 305 positions including both assistant and full professor posts. The educational qualifications have been specified for applications for both positions. A candidate applying for the post of assistant professor needs to hold a PhD degree and have a good record of related principles. The candidate should hold a masters’ degree and a minimum of 8 years’ experience in the field of teaching or research in an academic or research setting.  Any candidate applying for the post of professor should hold a PhD degree and have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in the field of teaching or  research. 

It is to be noted that during the selection process, a list will be drawn for all the candidates, indicating the research score scored by them in descending order according to the marks scored by each candidate. Interviews would be conducted for the screened candidates. 

The application fee for the same is 2000 rupees; however, no fees would be charged to SC/ST/OBC and women applicants. 

The general pay scale for associate professors has been assigned to Level 13A in the pay matrix, while Level 14 has been issued to professors in the pay matrix. 

Out of the 305 vacancies, 210 posts have been reserved for associate professors, and 95 posts are for full professors. The last date for applications has been fixed to 22 November, 2023.

This comes after the ad-hoc crisis, wherein many assistant professors were removed from their positions.

Read Also: Start of the Hindu Studies Centre in DU

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Aanya Mehta

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Good-byes are the hardest; even harder with our professors. But what do we do when we find ourselves amidst the ad-hoc crisis?

What does college life mean to us? Does it mean romanticizing the red-brick walls? Or does it mean romanticizing the kurta– tote bag- chai inner core? Whatever it means, it surely stands for something unique for each of us. However, amidst the beauty of this chaos, lies a hard feeling of being lost, a feeling that could only be felt as words fall short to describe it. But how did we land up to this position? Is it because of the cute little fights over lunch breaks or are those never-ending assignments to be blamed? To be fair here, I feel these are the memories we take along with us and the reason to feel lost has another story behind it.

When we transition from school to college, we bring along a bag full of expectations. Apart from to-be-realized life-long friendships, we do expect to find mentors and guides who would not just be limited to the pale-yellow walled classroom but would bring solace when life happens to us. However, what happens if the “academic universe” decides to take them away from you? What happens when you find yourself alone again? What happens when you get the guidance you yearned for only to realize it to exist for a short-run? This is what it feels when we encounter the issue of ad-hoc displacement.

Currently, the Delhi University (DU) is underway with hirings for permanent positions. According to a report by Indian Express, as of April 2023, 4500-5000 permanent positions were to be filled and by then 100-150 ad-hoc teachers were already displaced in the process. The interview process for filling of the permanent posts began in the later half of 2022.

To give you a jest of how these applications are processed; the interviews are taken by a selection committee. Under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations, this committee comprises of the principal of the college; the chairperson of the college’s governing body, or their nominee; the head of the department in charge of the subject; two V-C nominees; two external subject matter experts; and, in the event that any other members of the selection committee do not fall into one of these categories, an academician representing the SC, ST, OBC, minority communities, women, or differently abled categories.

If we go by the text-book, everything looks clean. However, I find myself incapable of judging whether things are fair or not. Due to this paucity, I will only be presenting you all with facts and figures and perhaps the questions that loom in every corner of my mind.

Recently, the sociology department of Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW) went through a whirlpool when five ad-hoc professors of the department, who were teaching at the college since years, all of a sudden found themselves out of job as the list with (new) permanent teachers was released. In a similar fashion, a (former) ad-hoc teacher, Pankaj Sarma of Kirori Mal College, suddenly found himself jobless, though he gave his ten years to the institution.

Similarly, late Samarveer of Hindu College, died by suicide as told by his family member due to his sudden removal from his job. Samarveer was an ad-hoc professor in the Philosophy department of the college. You name a college and this is the same story spinning everywhere.

To pin point here, if you get a sudden news that your professor resigned, it could either be that they finally understood what is about to unfold and voluntarily resigned or they met their fates of getting displaced. As sad as this reality would sound, this is what has been happening in the institution that is supposed to nurture the next-generation leaders, changemakers, and thinkers.

Even though I try to reel out of the pain of losing a mentor who not just guided me through the dreadful semester exams but showed me what I am capable of, what more I can achieve, and how much more power is to be realized as we move ahead in our lives, I stand dejected to know that my guiding light may have lost their shine. Though I know they are better-off and a place like this may not deserve them but I also know how blessed the students were to have a person like them in their lives. No words could give anyone a “job-security,” especially for a job they love. But as I come to the end, I could only hope to meet them again, perhaps while discussing our next adventure together.

Read Also: Social Media Vilification of Nerd Archetype

Featured Image Credits: The Quint

Ankita Baidya

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The absorption of temporary teachers initiated last year has been heavily scrutinised for being unjust and highly opaque, post the death of a DU professor who, after years of service at Hindu College, was told to vacate his position. This has sparked several protests and questioned the credibility of the recruitment process.

The suicide of a 33-year-old former Delhi University ad-hoc professor, Dr. Samarveer Singh, has sparked student and teacher-led protests throughout campuses. The deemed “institutional murder” of the professor hailing from Barna, a small district in Rajasthan, has led many to question the level of transparency and fairness in the system of inducting permanent faculty into central universities. Professors view this as an assault on their right to employment and dignity, while students have expressed great concerns and discontentment at the loss of a talented pedagogue and the unjust removal of plenty of other immensely competent academicians.

Professor Singh died on April 26, allegedly by suicide. His body was found hanging in his room in a rented apartment in outer Delhi’s Rani Bagh. As per police reports, empty liquor bottles and cigarette packets were found in the room. No suicide note was found. He was staying put in the accommodation with two of his cousins.

“The top floor of his house has two rooms. One of the rooms was locked. First, the mesh of the iron door was cut, and then the wooden door was broken. We took him to MV Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.” – Harendra Singh, Deputy Comissioner of Police (DCP)

Dr Samarveer, who had been working as an ad-hoc faculty member in the philosophy department for the past six years at Hindu College, was one of the many professors who were being displaced after the interview rounds for the recruitment of permanent faculty at Delhi University that started in September 2022. Despite having done his master’s from Hindu College itself, completing an M.Phil. degree, being enrolled in DU for a PhD, and having had the experience of teaching at Hindu College for the last few years, Professor Samarveer was mercilessly, in an utterly unjust manner, told to vacate his office merely on the basis of a highly opaque, unfair interview.

“It is very unfortunate and upsetting, and we are all shocked. Across colleges, the recruitment process is currently underway, and selection committees are holding interviews. Even though he had been associated for quite some time, he could not be regularised. The displacement happened in the first week of February, and he was asked to look for other opportunities. However, we had adjusted him for some time, but after that, it was not possible”.- Prof. Anju Srivastava, Principal Hindu College

The professor’s family and colleagues have spoken about his helplessness and distress. After being displaced in February, he was called back to Hindu College. Owing to his love for his college, Dr Samarveer decided to give up the position of a guest lecturer at another college, but no more than twenty days after resuming work, he was told to leave once again. Creating an insecurity this intense, constantly keeping professors in the dark, and treating the pedagogues of our nation this mercilessly exhibits the diminishing respect of academicians in the education sector. Such circumstances are grave enough to create an environment conducive to the development of feelings of constant self-doubt and helplessness, which is probably what led to the unfortunate loss of Dr Samarveer. Losing out on employment in an institution to which one has devoted so many years can be disarming for anyone.

“Sir was let go in February. It came as a huge shock for all of us, considering he wasn’t even a guest lecturer and had been teaching at the college for years. Then, after being called back, he was told to leave again. April 11th was his last working day, and April 17th was the last day I saw him. He was replaced by teachers far less competent, teachers who don’t even come from a philosophy background. All thanks to the highly problematic recruitment system. I regret not being able to spend as much time with him; I wish I would have.”- Keshavi Sethi, a student from Hindu College in conversation with DU Beat

Recent events have shown how there is a greater normalisation of recruiting mass ad-hoc teachers, paying them meagre salaries, conveniently displacing them, and brazenly prioritising those with political affiliations. Under such circumstances, where does a teacher hailing from humble grounds without “appropriate” connections stand? This is a slap in the face to the legacy of exemplary pedagogy that Delhi University has long been known for. Be it the attempts to revise the syllabus, politicise the learning spaces, rob students of valuable pedagogues, or displace them with political puppets, the University’s increasingly corrupt systems are failing everyone. Several professors from various organisations like Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), All India Students’ Association (AISA) have expressed their concerns on these perils.

“It is a fact that a sizable number of long-serving ad-hoc teachers, who otherwise fill all the criteria and have worked very hard for their institutions, have been displaced in the recent interviews. With permanent appointments being made through a so-called “open” recruitment process which has seen massive displacement, there expectedly looms in many ad-hoc teachers a sense of betrayal as they have been rendered without a livelihood after having taught in colleges/departments and contributing to the University for years. They have been falsely promised that they will be retained and regularized in open interviews, which of course has remained a hoax. In majority of these interviews, it has been felt that merit and past experience do not count, and that it is rather non-merit factors like nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, adherence, liaising, influencing and obeisance that are at play.” – Prof. Maya John, faculty at Jesus and Mary College and member of DU’s Academic Council, in a Facebook post

A deplorable state of affairs can be witnessed in the statistics presented in the Parliament by the Union Education Ministry. Of the total number of teachers employed in central universities, 3904 were in temporary positions; of these, 1820 were on a contractual basis and 1931 were guest faculty, with over 6500 permanent positions yet to be filled. 2,252 seats of these were for unreserved categories, while the rest were for OBCs, STs, and SCs. Dr Samarveer himself was eligible for application to a permanent job through the reserved category but was still denied a job.

“Academia is not as attractive a profession as it was earlier. It takes years to gain expertise, the necessary qualifications in one domain to be able to get a decent-paying job in the teaching sector. It is disheartening to see how the maltreatment of teachers is leading to a degradation in the quality of pedagogues owing to a lesser number of people opting into the profession. The career of all teachers is in a perpetual crisis. Under such conditions why would one want to become a teacher?” Dr Abha Dev Habib, a professor in Miranda Hourse, in conversation with DU Beat.

She continues,

“For as long as 10 years there were no appointments to permanent positions, with a greater number of ad-hoc and guest lecturers being appointed. 2017 was the year DUTA raised demands for absorption of temporary teachers. The deterrence to appoint permanent teachers stemmed from the larger conspiracy to weaken teachers unions which speak up against injustice. 2022 onwards, after great pressure the government finally opened up to the prospect of appointing permanent teachers. A huge number of teachers were awaiting their due. Injustice has been done to so many who have served their institutions for years. Services were taken from people, and were dishonored. There is a systematic rigging in the system which prioritises spouses, friends of office bearers over merit. Loss of a breed of exemplary teachers can cause an irreversible damage to the education system of our nation.”

Following the unfortunate demise of Dr Samarveer, several student and teacher unions have taken to the streets and college campuses to protest against the unjust system. The DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) held a protest on Thursday, followed by a condolence meeting. AISA (All India Student’s Association) has held protests against “brutal injustice to teachers.” Student groups like SFI (Students Federation of India) at Hindu College organised a condolence meet on April 27, the same day the college was celebrating its annual fest, Mecca, in full swing. Many students have also expressed their concern and frustration over the lack of acknowledgement and action on behalf of the college administration, the University, and even the student body.

“From diligently taking his classes to giving us an off whenever it got too hectic for us, Sir was a gem of a person. It’s sad to see that the college administration didn’t even bother to acknowledge the loss of such a brilliant mind while celebrating it’s annual fest. The ad-hoc issue is no longer costing professors their jobs, it’s costing them their lives, their dreams and their souls.”- Himasweeta, final-year student at Hindu College

Among the ongoing protests was the Joint Press Conference dated May 2, held at the Press Club of India. Students and teachers of DU met the press regarding the ‘orchestrated conspiracies’ of favouritism in recruitments against the backdrop of Dr Samarveer’s suicide. Teachers from CTF (Common Teachers Forum), Democratic Teachers Front, Delhi Teachers Initiative, and Samajwadi Shikshak Manchak participated in the conference. Representatives from DU’s academic council and DUTA were also present. The institutionalisation of NEP was severely scrutinised, with increasing privatisation, commercialization of education, contractual hiring, and an orchestrated attempt to weaken and demobilise the teachers union forming the core of the conversations. The speakers included Nandita Narain (President of DTF, former member of DUTA), Ratan Lal (senior activist from Hindu College), Udaibir Singh (member of the academic council), Aftab Alam (Zakir Hussain College), Maya John (academic council member and JMC professor), and Uma Raag (from IP College).

During the conference, Rusham and Keshavi, former students of Dr Samarveer Singh, expressed their frustration with the current apathy of the university community. Puneet and Sama, Hansraj College students, spoke about how the best of the faculty was being replaced methodologically, with 50–60 teachers having lost their jobs in their college. The speakers also highlighted the silence of the DUTA leadership and its inability to stand against political cronyism. Discussions on the selection committee’s selective work on furthering the interests of the ruling majority were held. It was reported that some interviews did not last longer than 2 minutes and seldom included actual meaningful questions. There are instances of candidates being humiliated by the board. All speakers finally agreed upon the solution that all teachers be absorbed, keeping the reservation roster in mind. All the teachers who attended the press conference have sent a letter to the Vice Chancellor underlining these issues and demanding justice for Dr. Samarveer and all other ad hoc and guest faculty of the University.

Read also: DU Teachers Stage Protest for Absorption of Ad-Hoc Teachers

Featured Image Credits: Rediff.com

Rubani Sandhu
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The Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) has offered a one-time relief to allow all ad-hoc teachers of the University of Delhi (DU) to appear for interviews for permanent positions.

The MHRD has ended an impasse and finally offered relief to the ad-hoc teachers of DU, allowing them to appear for interviews for permanent positions. The government on Friday, 20th December, also directed DU to let the ad hoc teachers continue in their positions until the permanent positions are filled. After a meeting between Professor Yogesh Tyagi, the vice-chancellor of DU and the MHRD along with University Grant Commission’s (UGC) officials, the university wrote to the principals and directors of colleges and institutions of the university that the vacancies will be filled in a time-bound manner and ad hoc and guest faculty will continue as an interim measure.

This decision was taken after the teachers of the university rose in an indefinite strike, called by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on 4th December 2019. They called for this strike in support of their demand to withdraw the 28th August circular mandating appointment of guest faculty over ad-hoc teachers against substantive vacancies arising for the first time in the academic session. The teachers were urged to stay away from all official duties, including invigilation and evaluation of the university’s end-semester examinations. DUTA officials also met with principals of colleges who have kept renewal of ad-hoc teachers’ tenure in abeyance and have not released salaries.

Amit Khare, Secretary, higher education, MHRD, said, “After the meeting of the UGC on Thursday, 19th December, it was decided that as a one-time relief, all the ad-hoc teachers will be eligible for appearing in the interviews for fulfilment of permanent positions in University of Delhi. Moreover, the working ad-hoc teachers will continue in their positions till the time the permanent positions are filled.”

The letter issued by the university to its colleges stated that the colleges and institutions would have to fill the permanent vacancies in a “time-bound manner” and that in the interim time taken to fill out these positions, ad-hoc/temporary/guest faculty can be appointed.

Rajib Ray, the president of DUTA, said, “We welcome the decision. We want further concessions so that the ad-hoc teachers are absorbed in the permanent positions soon.”

However, the DUTA continues their indefinite strike for further demands of absorption on the basis of DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training) roster and promotion with counting of Ad-hoc experience.

Feature Image Credits: India TV

Shreya Juyal

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