The Delhi government turned a blind eye to the written request made by the ad-hoc teachers of the University to ensure the renewal of their term from 20th July 2019 and demand funds for the creation of new teaching posts. In retrospection, the office bearers, the karamcharis and the active faculty members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association flocked the streets in front of the University Grants Commission office to express their discontent and demand immediate action.
On the 16th July 2019, the office bearers, members of the Delhi University Karamchari Union along with the members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protested against the government and the University administration.
The protest started around 11:30 a.m. on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and carried on till 01:30 p.m. Chants of azaadi, “DU VC Down Down!”, “UGC Barbaad Ho!”, and “Hum Apna Adhikaar Maangte!” echoed as a handful of students and a large group of teachers joined the protest led by DUTA President, Dr. Rajib Ray, and DUTA Treasurer, Dr. Najma Remani, to protest the existing system ad hoc appointments, rampant corruption in the provision of Development Fund to colleges by the Vice Chanellor, and demand timely promotions, permanent appointments for job security and service benefits, release of grants for creating new teaching posts and accommodating the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) expansion and to force stop the commercialisation of Higher Education imparted at the University of Delhi by pestering colleges to accept loans from Higher Education Funding Association (HEFA) for funding expenses on infrastructural development.
The past three weeks have remained flooded with tense conversation between DUTA and the Delhi government. On talking to professors about their struggle, Dr. Debolina, an ad-hoc professor at Ramjas College said, “The administration is just trying to create a huge pool of disposable people which it can use and then throw away when it gets a cheaper substitute. I have no security of my job as a professor; I don’t get any perks, any promotions, or service benefits. We have been protesting this culture of ‘demanding gratitude’ and ‘forcing obedience’ on us for a while now and there has been no response. If I don’t have a job for the next three months, I am going to fall in the EWS category.”
“The Delhi government has finally agreed upon paying the salaries of professors in 12 colleges funded by them and its 5% share of the development expenses but that is not enough. The 12 colleges including some premier institutions like Vivekanand College and Moti Lal Neru College also need funds for facilitating the EWS expansion and to have a higher teaching staff to meet the greater student intake in this academic session. None of this has been addressed by the Deputy Chief Minister, who also holds the Office of the Education Department, at the DHE meeting held on 12th and 15th July respectively. Although they have made a verbal commitment about releasing the 2nd tranche of OBC expansions, there is still no paperwork for it,” said Dr. Rajib Ray, President of DUTA.
Dr Swati, a professor from the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies said, “I have been on an ad-hoc appointment in the department for 12 years, and every time the University releases the applications for making permanent appointments, they refuse to entertain past experience. This has forced me to be working on such an uncertain job where I don’t know whether I will be teaching the students I am teaching now, at this time next year. Somewhere this has also impacted student psychology because they see their teachers coming and going after break-years.” “This has further created a situation where students have now started to make a choice of college not according to the best faculty but according to the most stable faculty,” said Dr. S. K. Kaushik, Professor of Mathematics, Kirori Mal College, further adding that the sole reason for this is the ‘absence of willingness of the government and the University administration’.
Despite the blazing heat, all professors matched their voices in solidarity against the fraudulent system of the University. Seeing ‘gurus’ demanding their rights, it makes one wonder, is this system really democratic and fair? If it is, then why does this democratic system turn a blind eye to the cause of its building blocks? Will the system not collapse if these building blocks disintegrate? Time will tell us, whether DU too will collapse in its essence like other Central and State Universities, or will its prestige, that comes from its strong, qualified experienced and highly intellectual teaching staff, be maintained.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives