Hundreds of teachers under the banner of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) staged a dharna at the UGC today to demand the setting up of a separate Pay Review Committee for teachers with time-bound submission of its report, urgent resolution of anomalies of the VIth Pay Revision, implementation of Stepping Up as per order of the Hon’ble Bombay Bench of Aurangabad High Court , withdrawal of the API system that has led to denial of promotions for thousands of teachers, one-time exemption from NET of those who had begun their PhD prior to 2009 and an end to the system of ad-hoc and contractual appointments that has played havoc with teachers service conditions leading to exodus of talent and plummeting of academic standards.
E.C. members A.K. Bhagi and Abha Dev Habib and former DUTA president Aditya Narayan Mishra addressed the gathering apart from the DUTA office bearers and elected Academic Council and DUTA Executive members. Speakers condemned the fact that the DUTA was not allowed to stage the dharna in front of the UGC building, and had to hold it next to the Metro Station on the main road, at the site of the Occupy UGC dharna by students. Even though the DUTA had written to the UGC Chairperson last week informing about the dharna, no official was available to meet the DUTA delegation. Finally, the memorandum had to be handed over to a junior official across the barricade!
Members expressed their solidarity with the 55-day old Occupy UGC movement that had not only demanded the extension and expansion of the non-NET fellowship, but also highlighted the continuous slashing of Government funds for Higher Education, and demanded that the Government withdraws the offer of Higher Education as a commercial tradable service under GATS made to WTO in 2005, and desist from signing the treaty in the Nairobi Conference being held from 14th-18th December, 2015, that would endanger public funding of higher education and make quality education unaffordable and inaccessible to most Indians. Speakers condemned the announcement by the UGC that 5% would be deducted from the grant given to Trust Colleges. They pointed out that Rs. 13,000 crores had been deducted from the UGC grant this year and that this policy dictated by international and domestic corporate interests had led to severe attacks on their service conditions viz. denial of permanent appointments, promotions and pensions, crushing of democratic rights and autonomy of Universities to decide their own syllabi and examination schemes., and severe downgrading of infrastructure and thereby quality of education.