Two Physical Education professors of the University have been caught up in a confused state regarding their retirement from their respective colleges.
In an odd display of authority, two professors of University have received letters from their respective principals declaring their retirement age to be 62, instead of the legally stipulated 65. The two professors are from University of Delhi’s Vivekananda College and Shyamlal (Evening) College.
Calling it out as harrassment of the two teachers in the varsity, members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) held a ‘black flag’ demonstration on Wednesday, 1st May, which marked the University’s 97th foundation day. The abject lack of administrative intervention has proven problematic for the two professors whose jobs are in question.
The two associate professors of the Vivekananda and Shyamlal (E) College have received letters from the principals of these colleges informing them that they would be retiring at the age of 62 instead of 65, DUTA said. The matter has assumed utmost urgency as the professors concerned will attain this in May and July 2019, it said.
As declared by the DUTA to a national daily, failure to intervene in the matter by the administration, the University has failed to protect its own resolutions which determined that physical education teachers should be placed on the faculty roster. It also alleged that the principal of Vivekananda College misrepresented the college governing body’s instruction in the letter, stating that it had directed her to seek “legal opinion”, a claim refuted by members of the body, in a letter to the principal.
At the same time, DUTA has demanded withdrawal of these “illegal letters” and also the stepping down of the officiating principals of the two colleges.
Talking to DU Beat, Abha Dev Habib, a member of DUTA mentioned the historical background of Physical Education in its transition from a sports-related activities to a part of curriculum in the varsity. She says, “Initially, the university appointed Director of Physical Education. But the Executive Council’s resolution during the 1990s allowed them to be appointed as teachers. This is all being analysed restropectively now. The University of Delhi felt it had autonomy (financial and otherwise) to take decisions for the benefit of students. However, this autonomy is being overridden by the government, increasingly.”
She also talled about the retention of talent in the university in general. “The perspective about Physical Education has transformed over time. From being just a sports-related activity encompassing National Cadet Corps, and other related activities, it has now become an imperative part of the curriculum. It is being offered as a Generic Elective subject taught by teachers.” Notably, this transition has not come of its own accord. Various teachers across the varsity have been instrumental in this bringing about this change. Habib further adds, “The Vivekananda professor has been instrumental in establishing the department itself in the college. These teachers have given more or less 25-30 years to adjust the subject to the needs of the university. They have been entrusted with the duties of regular teaching staff and in all manners, they have performed in the capacity of regular teaching staff. You cannot devalue their contribution and ask them to leave abruptly. This argument then becomes about retaining, attracting, and accomodating talented minds in the faculty. Universities redefine. In redefining sports into curriculum, the government has actively introduced various policy changes. And to supplement to the best of everyone’s interest, the government should stand by its decisions.”
Meera Sood, an Associate Professor of Physical Education from Vivekananda College is one of the two professors affected by this unreasonable declaration. She says, “In pursuant of the EC’s resolution 127 dated 10th November 1990, all Directors of Physical Education were redesignated as Professors and given the same responsibilities and duties. The University Letter CB- III/ DPE/91, sent out to colleges on 16/01/1991 declared the same. The nomenclature changed and in that also our responsibilities as reinstated professors.” Madam Sood joined the Department of Physical Education at Vivekananda College in 1994. She mentions, “The principal is being highly unreasonable and discriminating in defining my responsibilities. She is bypassing the rules and regulations set by the university. I have been told that since I was appointed as a Director of Physical Education, I will be retiring at the age of 62. However, the new rules redesignated all Directors as Professors in colleges, which then implies that I shall be retiring at the age of 65.”
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat archives