Delhi University Teachers Association(DUTA), as part of its ongoing agitation against the UGC notification 2016, held a Press Conference today at the Seminar Hall of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. The Press Conference was attended by the elected teacher representatives & office bearers of different groups across the political spectrum. The members who addressed the Press Conference were former DUTA President & EC member Dr Aditya Narayan Misra, NDTF President & present EC member Dr A K Bhagi, former DUTA Vice President & INTEC Chairperson Shri Ashwini Shankar, former DUTA Joint Secretary & representative of University Teachers for Academics (AAP affiliated group) Dr Anita Ghosh, Academic Council member Shri Hansraj Suman, Academic Council member & representative of Samajwadi Shikshak Manch Dr Shashi Sekhar Prasad Singh & present EC member & DTF Joint Secretary Dr Abha Dev Habib, along with obviously the DUTA President Ms Nandita Narain & the other DUTA office bearers.
Speakers after speakers harped on the fact that the UGC gazette notification 2016 is an assault on the very ethos of higher education & hence needs to be withdrawn immediately. The aforementioned notification imposes a new workload norm for teachers which would render 50% teachers of Delhi University either jobless or surplus. Data was shared from different colleges to underline the decrease in workload of teachers with the change in direct teaching hours: the exclusion of tutorials leading to 50% retrenchment of teachers in disciplines from Humanities and Social Sciences especially. The biggest casualty has been the 4000+ adhoc teachers in DU who have lost their jobs because of this notification. All the speakers pointed out the human tragedy of adhoc teachers languishing for 10-15 years who would lose their livelihood now & most of whom are past the age of eligibility for other services. DUTA categorically demands the restoration of old workload norms which include tutorials with immediate effect & filling up of all vacant posts in permanent capacity with the correct GoI roster.
Speakers in the Press Conference highlighted on the dubious agenda of the Govt to deny jobs & promotion to teachers because of this notification. Attention was drawn to the unreasonable teaching hours demanded in the new amendment for promotion of teachers (20 hours per week) which is even more than the UGC stipulation. It was pointed out that if one adopts the new notification, then the total working hours of teachers (all inclusive) amount to 58 hours weekly, ie, 11-12 hours daily which is absurd. There is a serious compromise on quality of education to be imparted to students along with a structural transformation of the teaching job in colleges & Universities where the teacher, instead of developing critical thinking, is reduced to a mechanical service provider. Members constantly emphasised on the need of an enabling promotion scheme for the career advancement of teachers as an incentive to retain talent in the promotion.
The insidious timing of the 3rd amendment to the UGC Regulation 2010 in the form of this notification was highlighted in the Press Conference. Members agreed on the fact that the notification has come to distract the DUTA agitation from its core issues of promotion and the upcoming pay revision for teachers. By introducing a dubious workload norm which would lead to unprecedented loss of jobs, the Govt has tried to derail the movement built by DUTA in the last few months. Members resolved to fight against this conspiracy of the Govt in the form of a protracted struggle.
A very important point raised by several members is the adverse impact of this notification on teachers of the disadvantaged social groups like SC, ST, OBC & PwD. It’s observed that these marginalised sections form the majority of teachers presently working in adhoc capacity in DU colleges who would lose their jobs. This notification exposes the policy of the present Govt to exclude the deprived sections of the society from both employment and education so that higher education remains an exclusive domain of the upper class, upper caste elites.
DUTA clearly understands the fact that this UGC notification 2016 is a manifestation of the Govt’s decision to slash 55% funds in the Union Budget from Higher Education. This is clearly a corporate driven exercise meant to dismantle a public funded higher education system. Since there’s a continuity in Govt policy on this matter irrespective of political colour, DUTA feels that such a policy assault needs to be resisted by an all India struggle launched by teachers across the political spectrum to save higher education.
Next Mass-Action Programme
As part of this ongoing agitation DUTA announces a Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar tomorrow, June 14, 2016 from 11 to 3 pm. DUTA congratulates teachers for their overwhelming participation in the ongoing evaluation boycott and appeals to every teacher to join tomorrow’s programme in maximum numbers possible to put pressure on the Govt to reverse it’s notification.
On the issue of Evaluation Boycott
In response to the letter by the Dean, Examinations, the DUTA has written to the Vice Chancellor. The DUTA has urged the Vice Chancellor to take the matter up with the MHRD for early resolution.
In the absence of assurance from the MHRD, the DUTA has no option but to continue with the Evaluation Boycott. We have assured the Vice Chancellor that the interest of our students is uppermost in our minds. However, this is a question of the sudden loss of livelihood of thousands of our teachers. Moreover, our ad-hoc teachers, who number more than half of our evaluators, and stand disengaged as a result of the Notification, cannot be legally(leave alone morally) asked to do any evaluation. Without their participation, the completion of the evaluation process is an impossibility.