Leaflet, 23.8.2009

Elect RENU BALA as DUTA President

The feeling on the eve of the forthcoming DUTA elections is one of bewilderment. There are so many issues that have gone unrepresented in the recent past. Major challenges on the horizon threaten to dismember ‘universities’ and recast them as entities that we do not want them to be. Higher education is being readied for full scale conversion into a service for free trade. The teaching profession is to become more hierarchical and pyramidical: 1) selective promotions to top positions of professors (HAG) in the departments and to posts of professors in colleges is part of the attempt to mould educational institutions after business enterprises; 2) making promotion more difficult and hence for very few is the next evident design. There is an all-round deterioration in the service and working conditions. Governance is becoming more arbitrary and autocratic; apprehensions about the future are unnerving.

The need to consistently challenge authority and policy direction, to question, to critique, to protest, to formulate alternatives and to agitate is far greater today. Yet, a growing sense of demoralisation and a tendency to accept adverse changes as inevitable is perceptible. Such a feeling has taken root under the present Congress leadership of the DUTA. The task, therefore, is to revive the DUTA, reorient it and dispel this feeling. We need to choose a leadership that can unite teachers for a struggle of ideas and of action.

Teachers are concerned about the DUTA. The list of issues circulated by each organisation appears to be more or less the same and even the critiques of Government policy are in similar language. However, the common critique often conflicts with the ideology of some of these organisations. Blatantly false claims of representing teachers unfettered by ideological allegiances are made only to hide the conflict between stated positions and actual practice. Since all groups have led the DUTA, it is not difficult to assess their roles and evaluate their suitability.

The present Congress (AAD-INTEC) leadership of the DUTA is unwilling to contest Government policy be it with regard to pay revision or service conditions or the semester system or the imposition NAAC or the conversion of DCE into a state university. The NDTF (BJP) pursues the same policies as the Congress: the neoliberal economic policy that grounds expansion of higher education in marketisation with restructuring of education and the teaching profession and the erosion of democratic processes and structures.

The BJP Government brought in the Birla-Ambani report and the Model Act to lay down rules for complete commercialisation and privatisation of education. The Congress led UPA Government formed in 2004 with Left support had to withdraw the latter. However, the Congress reintroduced the same provisions through the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, proposals of the Commerce Ministry and the National Knowledge Commission. Now, free from its dependence on the Left, the Congress has renewed the policy offensive.

Have teachers’ organisations affiliated to the Congress taken an independent position in the DUTA? No. They have done something worse. They pitted one section of teachers against another and demobilised the DUTA. When the semester system was being imposed, the Congress leadership refused to organise any serious struggle despite the overwhelming mandate from teachers. The BJP also opposed any agitational action on pay revision and did precious little on the semester system except joining the “sit in the well” in the AC. The DTF alone has consistently pursued the issue, requisitioning a meeting of the DUTA Executive in November, responding to the VC’s letter in May (see https://dtfdu.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/letter-to-vc-25-5-09) and campaigning amongst teachers.

Moves to dismember the University have been pursued by the Delhi Govt under Congress and BJP regimes. In 1995-96, the DTF led DUTA thwarted the by the BJP Govt to take away the 12 fully funded colleges. The Congress Government has taken away DCE with the help of the BJP in the Delhi Assembly. The Congress leadership in the DUTA held back any protest and the NDTF (BJP) did not even mobilise BJP MLAs and leaders while criticising the DUTA leadership. Now the Congress Govt is renewing the old BJP plan to take away the twelve colleges.

The record of the Congress and the BJP on pay revision and service conditions is well-known. The NDTF leadership (DUTA President: Sri Ram Oberoi) tried to sabotage the struggle against the BJP Government in 1998 for the implementation of the UGC recommendations. The Congress leadership (DUTA President: Dr. S.S. Rathi) surrendered the provision for promotion to Professor in colleges in 2000 without a fight. During this pay revision the Congress leadership was helped by an equally willing BJP to scuttle any movement against the Government.

The only instance when the Congress and BJP groups stood against their party positions was when SC/ST reservation was introduced in teaching positions. After dividing the DUTA on this issue, they had to adopt it quietly. The Congress and the BJP that led the anti-Mandal agitation changed their positions when in power. The DTF stood by its support to reservation despite electoral unpopularity. The common agenda of the teaching profession as evident in various manifestos runs counter to the ideological beliefs of the Congress and the BJP and of those who switch from one to the other. To cover their own failures and unwillingness to fight government policies both the factions of the Congress – AAD and INTEC – and the NDTF (BJP) blame another teachers’ body, the AIFUCTO, from which the DUTA separated 22 years ago to form the FEDCUTA.

The DTF’s record of carrying out struggles during its leadership of the DUTA through arguments and action is well known. The struggles in the 80s that brought in and defended the principle of promotion, the actions during the Fifth Pay Revision in June-July 97 that forced the UGC to propose higher pay for teachers at all levels in comparison to the IAS and promotion for all to the level of professor, the struggle in 2002 that thwarted the UGC move to cut teaching positions by 35% are some of the landmarks of the DTF led DUTA. At a time that demands concerted struggle on serious policy matters, the DTF has the conviction and the credentials to unite the teaching community for successful action.

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One thought on “Leaflet, 23.8.2009

  1. Sir/Madam,

    As you are aware, recent notification of the UGC, dated 01.06.2009, has revoked NET exemption to M.Phil degree holders and has made NET qualification mandatory for the appointment of lecturers in the colleges and universities across India. In addition to this, those obtaining PhD degree from universities following the UGC guidelines for the purpose, have also been exempted from NET. This decision was very much expected and necessary to protect the decline in the quality of higher education. The UGC decision has been highly appreciated by most of the academicians and intellectuals.
    In this regard, the latest notification has been sent to all Universities by University Grant Commission on 16th June, 2009. It has also been published in the Gazette of India on 11-17 July, 2009
    We would also like to bring it your kind notice that, there are around 700 ad-hoc lecturers in Delhi University out of which approx 85% are NET holders. These are the same people who have been actively participating and supporting all the activities of DUTA at every step with full vigor and intensity. Therefore, being their representative, it’s DUTA’s duty to kindle and protect their interests. Unfortunately, DUTA activities in recent times have severely dented the interests of NET holders. Their efforts are being vehemently
    ignored in favor of all those M.Phil holders, who are not capable to clear NET examination even after several attempts. Ironically, DUTA organization which is a pedestal of hope and a pillar of strength for the faculty members, is trying to pull down the quality of education by helping them using the retrospective rule. It is also trying to derecognize the efforts of all the candidates who have put in meticulous study curriculum to clear the NET examination. We would also like to clear here that “interim report” of Prof. Mungekar(14-06-06) has lost its validity after submission of final report (submitted on 26 July, 2007); Moreover Honb’le Nagpur High court has given stay on this interim report on 6th March, 2007. Therefore “Retrospective” word can’t be used on invalid report.
    M.Phil holders are lobbying to change this decision and need relaxation till June, 2009. Such a relaxation will further dent the quality of faculty appointments which has already reached a nadir due to the interim report. The same would augment to restore faith and support towards DUTA in the outlook of NET holders.

    We would also like to bring in your kind notice that many colleges have given advertisement for the post of Asst. professors and trying to fill the vacancies on the basis of previous notification which is in violation of the UGC regulations 2009 and the decision of Honb’le Supreme Court (University of Delhi Vs Raj Singh case, 1994, sec. 516).

    Since this is a question of NET holder’s future, we request you to recognize their contribution and hence ask your support towards their interests and add this matter in your agenda properly.

    We would like to know your views and steps on this matter

    Regards

    Convener

    ASSOCIATION FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE (AAE)

    (an Association of young lecturers and research scholar of University of Delhi)

    Email- academicexcellence09@gmail.com

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