DU Professors Hold Kitab Rally Against MHRD Diktats

Chanya Jaitly

The teachers have been boycotting evaluation of undergraduate examination since May 24 in protest against amendments to UGC regulations but keeping in mind the condition of third year students and students of FYUP (B Tech), they have started their evaluation.

In order to make their voices heard, they have also put admission procedures on hold.

“We have no option left other than to boycott admission process. We have been boycotting evaluation and have peacefully registered our protest but over demands have not been paid any heed” DUTA president Nandita Narain, said.

The new UGC norms were to increase the workload on assistant professors, from 16 hours of “direct teaching” per week (including tutorials) bringing the total up to 24 hours. Similarly, the work hours of associate professors have been increased 14 to 22. Although, the exemplary participation of all teachers in  DUTA’s evaluation boycott and mass action programmes forced the government to roll back the mischievous increase in workload with its disastrous consequences of loss of 40-50 posts, they have refused to roll back API – PBS system which awards “points” for various achievements which include papers in journals. The UGC ‘recognises’ student feedback and number of lecture hours. These points are crucial as they determine promotion.

This API- PBS system has done even more damage in DU because of retrospective application and the starting of permanent appointments (with proper roster) against the vacant sanctioned posts, which number over 4,500 in DU alone.

The teachers believe that the new amendments will lead to job cuts to the tune of 50 per cent and drastically increase pupil-teacher ratio in higher education.

Also, they feel the ministry’s stubborn stand has damaged the job prospects of 5000 young teachers of DU alone and has put a question mark on the promotions and career advancement of the entire teaching community.

These norms put the Ad-Hocs, temporary and guest teachers on the verge of going out.

“There have been 4 amendment but not one amendment led to any promotion. It seems like all those 4 amendments were never made for promotion of the teachers,” said Rajeev Kunwar, a member of DUTA.

The teachers have been protesting for permanent appointments for past 8 years but it didn’t have any effect on the government.

If the demands of rollback of API-PBI and no retrospective application of this scheme is met, it will ensure permanent appointments for the thousands of ad hocs/ temporary/ guest lecturers who are continuously in danger of losing employment given the attempts to down size public funded universities.

Removing ad hocs, temporary and guest teachers will also mean that only the permanent teachers will have to make the syllabus for the year, give lectures, publishing papers  make the question paper and do the evaluation which is inhuman. The workload will also affect the relationship between teachers and students and again API-PBI system won’t work.

The norms and policies adopted by the government seems to be anti- teachers , anti-education, anti-people policies because it will not only force the good teachers to leave the public universities but also join private universities.

The norms will lead to corporatisation of education system and also the destruction of public education system.

“This attack on the educated youth shouldering the responsibility of running the biggest public administered system of affordable, inclusive and quality driven higher education undermined the very mandate of this government”  a member of Delhi University Teacher’s Association said.

The teachers last protested on Thursday, June 23. They started their ‘Kitab Rally’ from Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium to go to UGC. The police was already there to stop them from reaching UGC even when teachers repeatedly requested them to remove the barricades. When the police didn’t listen to them, the teachers went to occupy ITO chowk. Every teacher brought one book to leave at UGC to symbolise alienation of teachers, flight of talent and destruction imposed on public funded higher education. As the teachers could not reach UGC, they left their books at ITO chowk.

The DUTA is thinking of future course of action on the matter.

When admission procedure will start, there will be counselling sessions when parents of the students and the students will come to know more about the college, DUTA is planning to spread the message by giving leaflets to the parents so that they also know about the demands of the teachers which talks about two aspects. First, since 2008 there are no permanent appointments of the teachers. Second, no promotion of the teachers, all over India. These two aspects come out of the decision of 55 ℅ fund cut.