Agitated by Government’s apathy, thousands of teachers from across State and Central universities and colleges participated in the “Jail Bharo Andolan” under the banner of AIFUCTO-FEDCUTA to draw attention to deteriorating service conditions. After Dharna at Jantar Mantar, where leaders representing different states of the country addressed the gathering, teachers courted arrest and were taken to the Police Station, Parliament Street. The public meeting and sloganeering continued inside the Police Station till they were released in the evening.
The action programme was to highlight the demands of constitution of the UGC Pay Review Committee, Release of Pension(GPF), Withdrawal of API, Stepping Up and Removal of Anomalies, Regularisation of ad-hocs and filling of posts as per proper GoI roster and Settling Ph.D. Net Issue. Speakers pointed out that the non-Constitution of a UGC Pay Review Committee indicates the disregard of the Government for the specific concerns of the teaching community and the different nature of the service conditions required in universities and colleges. Implementation of Point Based Appraisal System for promotions, which is based on quantification of teaching and research work, is completely unacademic, has devalued teaching, adversely affected environment of holistic and collective growth of institutions. It has become a way to deny promotions. Teachers from across universities shared how recent academic restructuring including semester system and CBCS have resulted in dilution of academic standards, hampered teaching-learning processes and harmed students’ interest. These top-down “reforms” have failed to respond to the needs of the system. Skewed student-teacher ratio and ever increasing contractualisation of teaching posts have crippled universities and colleges. The teachers rejected Common CU Bill, 2013.
The attack on the service conditions and denial of permanent appointments, promotions, pension etc are all linked to the cutting back of Govt funding of Higher Education, which the Indian Govt has been doing under continuous pressure from private and foreign vested interests acting through the World Trade Organisation, which has been spearheading covert and overt trade deals to privatise vital areas like health and education.The AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA strongly condemned the MHRD for its continuing refusal to meet them. This indicates the increasing erosion of democracy under this Government.
The next action programme is on 26 November. To demand that Education be kept out of WTO/GATS, AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA along with other organisations of teachers from universities, colleges and schools, student organisations, university employees, other organisations working in the field of education and concerned citizens shall participate in a Mass Rally to the Parliament under the banner of National Platform in Defence of Education.