DTF Election Leaflet, 5.1.2013

Fight to save DU from ruin! Elect Abha Dev Habib to the EC.

Elections to the EC & AC are being held at a time when the University is facing an unprecedented assault on its very existence. With the Government in a hurry to attract private investment, domestic and foreign, to higher education, moves are afoot to put in place new academic structures and a new form of governance that are conducive to this objective. Public funded institutions are being restructured through a uniform academic calendar with a semester system, credit transfer across institutions, vocationalisation and commercialisation of courses and contractualisation of teaching posts in order to create favourable conditions for private business through lower costs and larger revenue. The 4-year undergraduate structure bulldozed through the recent AC & EC meetings is another major step in this direction. Modeled on the US community colleges with exit points after the 2nd and 3rd years, it is aimed at continually shunting out students and making higher education exclusive. If resistance to these moves has to be overcome, serious discussion and debate cannot be allowed and all democratic processes have to be discarded or made ineffective. The new form of governance therefore aims at subverting the representative, democratic powers of the AC & EC. Statutory processes that are meant to ensure academically sustainable decisions are being replaced by nominated bodies such as the Task Force and the Academic Congress, and the AC & EC are expected to merely rubber stamp the proposals.

The DUTA has been engaged in persistent struggle against 4000 teaching positions lying vacant, non-implementation of Reservation norms, delay in promotions, denial of pension, negative service conditions, and so-called “reforms” announced through the media and bulldozed through the AC & EC. It has met the Visitor, the HRD Minister, the Chief Minister, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Higher Education and MPs of different political parties. After writing innumerable letters, holding dharnas in the University and in colleges, and a one-day token strike along with a hunger strike by DUTA Executive members, the DUTA launched an Indefinite Relay Hunger Strike which went on for 53 days and drew the attention of the media to our demands and the arbitrary functioning of the VC. Every action programme – candle light vigil, barefoot march, songs and plays, effigy-burning or even screening a film – disturbed the VC as it brought together teachers, students and karamcharis against his dictatorial regime and the “reforms” he has been bulldozing without due debate. An online petition signed by eminent academics, writers, artists and film personalities in support of our struggle was submitted to the Prime Minister on 4.12.2012.

While the previous VC had adopted the approach of taking decisions under emergency powers, the current VC has taken this new form of governance to bizarre levels. In this setup the Registrar issues orders overriding all academic processes and not even HoDs or Principals dare raise any questions for fear of being vindictively targeted. He has further taken a vow not to meet or talk to the DUTA (or the DUCKU or DUSU) so that he does not have to answer their pressing questions. With the vanity and disdain of a feudal lord, the only form of interaction he can envisage with the university community is the darbar. When the new HRD Minister told him to open dialogue with the DUTA, he started a weekly darbar-e-aam to compliment the darbar-e-khas, the nominated bodies of yes-men he has set up to implement his decisions. During the DUTA’s indefinite relay hunger strike, his feudal pride could not stomach the burning of his effigy, which he tried unsuccessfully to disrupt, or the screening of the film The Great Dictator, during which he got the electricity cut. He has no concern for either academic morality or academic quality and standards. Inflation of marks after the first semester was followed by withholding the results of the last two semesters from public scrutiny. The disgracefully shoddy nature of the courses outlined for the 4-year undergraduate format is further evidence. That his words cannot be trusted is clear from his brazen flip-flopping about starting regular appointments to fill the 4000 posts lying vacant.

It is unfortunate that the conduct of some groups has undermined the DUTA’s struggle. They have repeatedly sabotaged discussion on the “reforms” in the DUTA Executive and supported Prof. Dinesh Singh while he bulldozed major structural changes in emergent AC/EC meetings without debate – first semesterisation, then the Cluster Innovation Centre, three new courses, a B.Tech in Innovation and IT, an unheard of B.Tech in Humanities and MA in Mathematical Education, credit transfer and the principles of Meta College and Meta University. Repeatedly the task of opposing arbitrary functioning and hasty decisions without due consultation and debate has been left to 5 or 6 of the 26 elected members.

In the recent AC meeting, only 5 members protested against the closing of all gates during the meeting to keep protesters out of the campus. Only 7 members opposed the proposal to hastily replace the existing 3-year undergraduate programme by a 4-year one without due process and debate (See dissent note). These were the four DTF members, a member of Sambhavana, the Dean of Social Sciences (Head, Dept of Sociology) and the Head, Dept of Economics. It is also unprecedented in the history of the University that the Task Force which recommended the 4-year programme was not merely a nominated body but a secret one. The membership and scope of this Task Force was not made public till the AC meeting of 24.12.2012 was notified. It is shocking that several members of the Task Force belong to the AAD, NDTF, INTEC and UTF and are elected representatives in the AC. Yet they neither revealed their own participation nor the names of the other members.

Issues in our Struggle

  • 4000 teaching posts lying vacant: These constitute around 50% of the total posts, in some colleges and subjects within colleges, the figure is much higher, over 90% in some cases. This is also in violation of Ordinance XVIII which stipulates that not more than 1/3rd of teaching posts will be ad-hoc or temporary at any given time. Since the VC is actively refusing to fill the posts, the number is constantly rising.

  • UGC Reservation Guidelines of 2006 not being implemented. Stalling of appointments also means stalling implementation of these guidelines.

  • Service Conditions & Promotional Avenues: The UGC has decided to withdraw the irrational point-based appraisal system, but the decision is yet to be notified. Decisions are still pending on other issues raised by the DUTA including stepping-up of salaries of senior teachers, upgrading of initial pay for each AGP and ending quota based promotion to Professor in colleges and from 10,000 AGP to 12,000 AGP for Professors in the departments.

  • Delay in promotions: particularly for those due after 30.6.2010, caused by the undue delay in notifying the decisions of the Revisit Committee on the UGC Regulations.

  • Pension: Settlement of CPF/GPF conversion. Speedy fixing and release of pension of retired teachers. Restoration of assured pension scheme for those joining service since 1.1.2004 (This is part of the charter of the two-day countrywide general strike on 20 & 21 February 2013 called by all central trade unions).

  • Attendance System: On 23.12.2009 the EC had agreed that marking attendance was antithetical to the teaching profession and rejected any attendance system (not just biometric), instead authorising the VC to set up a committee to evolve norms of accountability based on the DUTA Report of 2000 on Academic Reforms and Curbing Absenteeism. On 3.11.2012 the VC got himself authorised by the same EC (with only Rajib Ray’s dissent) to decide on an attendance system for teachers! This is another instance of subversion of the statutory bodies.

  • Pay Cut imposed for participating in the DUTA’s token strike on 28 August and in the Relay Hunger Strike – even on gazetted holidays!

  • Ad Hoc teachers: The EC guidelines of 2007 for Ad Hoc appointments, supposedly designed to curb adhocism, are being misused to harass ad hoc teachers and force them to appear for interviews every four months. Temporary appointments which provide a greater degree of stability are not being made. With uneven workload following semesteri-sation, ad hoc teachers are often hired for one semester and fired in the next. This phenomenon will increase with the 4-year graduation and Meta College system. Ad hoc teachers, working for years in this capacity, are denied any benefits including maternity leave. The fate of the increasing number of Guest lecturers is even worse.

  • Arbitrariness with NET: The UGC has once again taken an arbitrary decision that only the top 15% of candidates in the NET merit list for each subject and category will be eligible for lectureship.

  • Examination System: The Examination Branch is being gradually dismantled, with its functions passed on to Departments and Colleges including many aspects of paper setting, translating questions into Hindi, getting them typed, and even printing and distribution of question papers as extra burdens on teachers. While genuine examination reforms have been shelved, arbitrary decisions are being imposed – evaluation of answer scripts by three examiners, violation of anonymity of examiners and examinees, withdrawal of Special Chance provision and moves to withdraw revaluation.

  • Staff Councils and Departmental Councils: While Departmental Councils have still not been made statutory, the Dean of Colleges argued in the EC meeting of 3.11.2012 for amending Ordinance XVIII to do away with Staff Councils and empower Principals in their place!

  • Denial of leave, in colleges and university departments, is becoming a recurrent phenomenon. Questions are raised about who would do the teaching / administrative work if leave is sanctioned. With the increasing shortage of permanent staff, this issue is acquiring alarming proportions.

  • Child Care Leave is being wrongly clubbed with other academic leave and made subject to 10% quota leading to denial/long queues for both kinds of leave.

  • Parity for Librarians with teachers in designation and retirement age. Parity is also denied to instructors, the academic staff of the Hindi Implementation Board and system programmers.

  • School of Open Learning: The lakhs of students of this institution face severe harassment due to the rapidly dwindling number of teachers, hiking of fees (which are misused to finance other expenses of the University), inordinate delay in examination results and harassment or even denial of admission or migration to another institution, even within DU.

  • Professional Colleges: Denial of parity in pay and designation to teachers of RAK College of Nursing and Nehru Homeopathy College; rotational headship not adhered to in medical & other professional colleges; persisting autocratic and arbitrary functioning.

  • Health Care Facilities: With rising costs of medical treatment, the need is for a scheme of full reimburse-ment rather than the restricted operation of the direct payment system and reimbursement only at CGHS rates even when hospitals charges are much higher.

  • Lack of facilities for differently-abled including appropriate infrastructure, study materials, assistance for evaluating answer scripts and assignments.

  • Shortage of housing facilities in view of increase in the number of teachers, also including many single women and differently-abled teachers.

How do we fight for our demands?

How should teachers, their elected representatives and their collective body, the DUTA, confront the unparalleled despotism that has been imposed on the University and fight for their legitimate demands? Can this be done by compromising on policies – being aggressively pursued by the Government – as propagated by some groups? Do we believe we can get the appointment process started by kowtowing to the VC’s “reforms”, by participating in the Task Force and the “Academic Congress” and refusing to speak against him in the AC & EC?

The proposal for a 4-year graduation was floated along with the semester system by the previous VC. It was shelved in the face of resistance to the semester system. After imposing the semester system, regular appointments were stopped. Instead of providing the required infrastructure in the wake of OBC reservations and filling teaching posts on a permanent basis, the administration is out to undermine or abolish the tutorial system (thereby increasing lecture classes per teacher). A proposal was made during semesterisation to increase the group size and reduce the frequency of tutorials, but it had to be withdrawn. A similar proposal was made by the Task Force for the 4-year structure. In response to questions raised during the AC meeting on 24.12.12, only a verbal commitment to keep tutorials was given, but none on the size of the lecture class or tutorial group.

The 4-year structure has been deliberately kept vague and the VC has got himself authorised to give it concrete shape. Implications for workload and teaching positions would be severe unless lecture class size is reduced and the tutorial system retained without increasing the tutorial group size. Also not clear is the number of practicals for science courses. The fact is that the 4-year structure is being imposed without even expanding infrastructure for the expanded intake of OBC reservations and with far fewer permanent teachers. Instability of workload, already institutionalised through the semester system, will be further enhanced, even more so through the Meta College system.

Is it not clear that the VC’s “vision” means permanent and increasing contractualisation of teaching posts along with a general increase in individual teacher’s workload, that if his despotic form of governance goes unchallenged, it means that all authorities will function arbitrarily, that promotions will not only be delayed but also denied, that reservation policies will be flouted with impunity, that pensions will be denied and pensioners harassed, that teachers’ rights will become favours to be willfully granted or denied, that the dignity of every teacher, senior and junior, permanent, ad hoc and guest, is at stake?

Having failed to get approval of Parliament for any of its six Bills on Higher Education, the Government wants to introduce “reforms” through other means. The Twelfth Plan recommendation to allow profit making in Higher Education makes its intentions clear. The clandestine move to rewrite the status of LSR as “autonomous” college on its website is typical of these means. Unsuccessful in getting the Bill on Accreditation passed, the MHRD now plans to impose compulsory accreditation through executive orders of the UGC by linking it to funding. Accreditation and rating by assessing agencies will rank institutions according to how well they generate resources and cut costs. This is what is in store for Delhi University if we do not fight back.

The fight against contractualisation of teaching posts and for our legitimate demands, cannot be fought with any hope of success if we do not see it within the framework of this larger, far-reaching assault on the Delhi University as a public-funded institution.

Vote against the ruin of DU! Vote DTF!

The DUTA’s struggle has brought recognition of our issues in the media and initiated joint action by teachers, students and karamcharis. It is this form of joint resistance and public opinion making that must be expanded and deepened. The DUTA has chalked out a series of action programmes with these objectives. The forthcoming elections to the AC & EC must be seen as part of this struggle. Let this election make clear that teachers have not been consulted, that they decry the moves to convert this University into a teaching shop. We appeal to teachers make the elections a decisive mandate against the despotic governance and ruinous policies being imposed on Delhi University.

EC & AC Elections

on 31 January 2013, 10.30 am – 4.30 pm


Fight to save DU from ruin!

Elect

B. No.

2

Abha Dev Habib

abha

Dept of Physics, Miranda House
Tel: 9818383074
Email: abha_dev@yahoo.com

to the EC

and

B. No.

2

Renu Bala

Renu

Dept. of Hindi,
ARSD College

Ph: 9871959997

B. No.

12

Rudrashish Chakraborty

rudra

Dept. of English,
Kirori Mal College

Tel: 9968253813

B. No.

6

Sujeet Kumar

sujeet

Dept. of Hindi,
Delhi College of Arts & Commerce
Ph: 9811323323

B. No.

32

Amitava Chakraborty

amitava

Dept. of MILLS,
Arts Faculty
Ph: 9910089928

to the AC

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One thought on “DTF Election Leaflet, 5.1.2013

  1. i think time was ripe when DTF should have fielded more AC candidates. Today, the scenario is completely anti congress and anti BJP. Merely 4 AC members and One EC member from one group does not make any sense today. Additionally, two teacher EC representative are of no use either. They dont have any say in decision making, and things becomes worst when these EC representatives are from different political groups. Hopefully, if both the EC members can belong to one party, things may be better.
    All these three groups do not represent common teacher. I wish if AAP had a candidate this time. Though all these three teacher groups are useless, but DTF is the right option given the present proposal.

    Like

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