Elect Nandita Narain as DUTA President!
On 27 August teachers will vote to decide how the DUTA should take the bitter struggle forward against policies that have now come out openly to wreck public funded higher education – its quality, its accessibility and the role of its central functionary, the teacher. The teacher’s role in these policies is no longer to help young minds to ask questions and think critically. The highs and lows of the incessant struggle over the last two years have brought to light the sinister agenda of converting the university from an institution of higher learning into a vendor of education packages and teachers into its traveling salesmen.
University as cafetaria
Under the guise of ‘reform’, the government – whether UPA or NDA – is bent on reducing courses of study to modules to be bought and sold, commodities in the domestic and international market. FYUP was withdrawn after intense and long-drawn protests by teachers and students, only to be replaced a year later by CBCS. Both were founded on semesterisation and modularisation and the recasting of the university as a cafetaria.
WTO/GATS to set the rules
Education was made part of the General Agreement of Trade in Service (GATS) of the WTO in 1996. In the Doha WTO summit in 2005, the government offered to open up higher education as a tradable service. For this, it had to first fulfill GATS rules to ensure a level-playing field to all providers, domestic and foreign, of commercialised education services. Providers are defined as all institutions that have commercialised any aspect of their activity. Submitting to GATS rules would not only let private providers make profits through fees but also allow them to compete on a level-playing field with public funded institutions for government grants! Downgrading the quality of public funded education is crucial to this exercise.
All policies pursued by UPA and NDA governments have been aimed at fulfilling these GATS rules– including CBCS, Central Universities Bill, RUSA, non-filling and contractualisation of teaching and non-teaching posts, API to prevent upward mobility, withdrawal of pensions. Now the government wants to make its 2005 offer into a full-fledged agreement in the Nairobi WTO summit in December this year. Time is ticking towards a catastrophe that can only be averted by a united nation-wide popular resistance.
‘Reforms’ for whom?
‘Reforms’ in higher education are part and parcel of the larger ‘Reforms’ agenda to facilitate profit-making in all spheres of society: land acquisition from poor and indebted farmers, hire and fire of labour, restrictions on unions, commercialisation of health services, financial deregulation and so on. In this vision of society, social needs such as jobs, health, education, are mere sources of profit. Governments, elected by the people, work as agents of big business against the legitimate needs of the people. This anti-people ‘reforms’ agenda is being pursued worldwide. We have just seen its consequences in Greece where a massive democratic mandate has been denied any legitimacy.
Sectarian poison to divide popular resistance
Increasing popular resistance poses the only threat to this agenda, so if it can’t be easily crushed, it has to be managed. What better way to do this than to spread communal poison and divide the efforts to build effective resistance. This has been a hallmark of the first year of NDA rule both outside and inside educational institutions. This poison can kill two birds with one stone: it breeds violence-prone conflicts between communities, and it undermines knowledge based on scientific and critical thinking.
Vyapam integral to this system
The Vyapam Scam exposed how public institutions can be corrupted when governance lacks transparency and accountability. In DU too, academic destruction has gone hand in hand with grave financial irregularities and illegalities (misappropriation of OBC grants, massive diversion of SOL funds, etc), in the University and in several colleges.
Game of Thrones : कौन बनेगा कुलपति
The autocratic and feudal administration under the present VC has vitiated working conditions in quick time. A similar pattern of abuse of power, however, is becoming widespread. Appointment of VCs of questionable academic standing and commitment has become more common. Such VC’s bulldoze government directives by breaking all norms, norms of civility and even statutory provisions. They wield disproportionate power in appointments, promotions, approval of research projects, leave as well as disciplinary actions to harass and victimise those who question their views and actions.
While the continuing offensive against teachers by the DU VC with regard to appointments, promotions and pensions can be attributed to his vindictiveness, the inaction of the government on these issues has to be more critically examined. So too its failure to act against a person found guilty of grave illegalities.
That the CBCS was introduced at non-statutory gatherings of VCs with the MHRD or the Visitor, where these VCs assured full preparedness of their universities, that a common syllabus was laid down by the UGC and accepted, all this heralds a new form of governance which rides roughshod over statutory norms, institutions and even Parliament.
How do we take the struggle forward?
The challenge before the DUTA today is, therefore, not only to remember its heritage but to steadfastly preserve its independence, fearlessly voice its opinion and help build a nation-wide resistance by drawing all teachers’ unions as well as students to bring to public notice the policy thrust against quality and access to quality education.
The DUTA in the last four years has managed to stand up to the terror unleashed on democratic rights, rule of law and on its own existence. It has survived and managed to reach out to sections of the people. It has raised the banner of resistance and won recognition of its fight across the country and in the media. Under the leadership of Nandita Narain it has made significant efforts towards a nation-wide struggle of teachers and students. The government and its pliant VC want us divided. We must be firmly committed to expand and deepen our unity.
The DTF appeals to teachers to give a resounding call for determined struggle against the destructive policies of the government by electing Nandita Narain and her entire team with a thumping majority.
7th Pay Review: The Challenges Ahead
The UGC Pay Review Committee has still not been constituted despite repeated protest actions including DUTA-CCTAD-AIFUCTO Dharna at UGC on 19.2.2015 and Court Arrest on 13.3.2015, FEDCUTA-AIFUCTO Joint Dharna at UGC on 19.6.2015 and nationwide cease-work and Hunger Strike by AIFUCTO-FEDCUTA on 7.8.2015. It was the work done by DTF’s Dr Vijender Sharma as DUTA President during the 5th pay revision in 1996-97 that set the contours of DUTA’s demand for parity with Group A services, a demand accepted by the UGC under Prof Armaity Desai in 1997 but rejected by the NDA Government in July 1998 with the pliant NDTF leadership of DUTA capitulating before their political masters. The 6th pay revision, delayed by three years, brought an unequal pay structure with unprecedented anomalies and the discredited API/PBAS system for promotion.
DTF reiterates DUTA’s long-standing demands of a comprehensive and inclusive pay revision catering to every section of the teaching community in order to retain quality and talent in the teaching profession:
- Resolution of all 6th pay revision anomalies including minimum pay for AGP 7000, one increment for upward movement from one AGP to another and stepping up.
- A higher entry pay for teachers to offset late entry into the profession.
- Assured four promotions / upgradations for all teachers in departments and colleges to ensure parity in pay structure and benefits with other comparable services.
- Promotion to Professorship in colleges
- A uniform multiplication factor for all sections of the teaching community to avoid discrimination.
- Counting of total years of service for promotion rather than stipulated years in a particular grade: an enabling provision to include ad hoc services for all promotions has been discarded by the University.
- Assured pension benefits for all teachers.
We must be prepared for a united nation-wide struggle of teachers to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive pay revision for all teachers.
Issues in Our Struggle
- Ad hoc teachers: regularisation of teachers who have served as temporaray/adhoc for long periods, maternity and medical leave, PhD benefit, no fictitious breaks, ensure summer salary
- Filling vacant posts with proper roster, without point based screening, selection committees as per Visitor’s order of 2003, simultaneous interviews in colleges with experts consisting of all teachers of the departments; Reverse usurpation by the VC of the EC’s power to make appointments in departments
- Promotion: No compulsory requirement of PBAS-API before 17.8.2013. Choice between old and new PBAS scheme to all; complete withdrawal of API; expediting of promotion
- Pension: Release of pension for all retired teachers. GPF to all teachers appointed before 1.1.86 as per the then GOI policy. Assured pension scheme for those appointed on and after 1.1.2004.
- Medical Facilities: Reverse arbitrary removal of hospitals and authorised doctors from list. The Health Centre should have adequate staff and the pharmacy adequate stock of medicines. Revive Advisory Committee with DUTA and DUCKU Presidents and EC teacher representatives as members. A full reimbursement scheme rather than restricted operation of the direct payment system and reimbursement only at CGHS rates even when hospital charges are much higher.
- CCL and Study Leave: Clubbing Child-care Leave and Study Leave with other leave has had a chaotic and divisive impact. Both leaves are important entitlements; neither should be subjected to a 10% cap.
- Parity for Librarians with teachers in designation and retirement age. Parity must also be extended to instructors, the academic staff of the Hindi Implementation Board and system programmers. Withdraw clubbing of Librarian and AO for roster.
- Professional Colleges: Arbitrary takeover of UCMS and NSIT by Delhi Government. 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.
- Abrogation of Ordinance XV-D on Sexual Harassment through the Registrar’s Notification (9.1.2014) has done away with the comprehensive mechanism devised in DU to deal with cases of sexual harassment.
- Regularisation of Self-financing Courses, including Computer Science, Journalism and BBE.
Second tranche of teaching posts withheld: Only half the posts created after OBC reservation were released though DU continued to receive funds for these posts.
- Code of Conduct: Incorporated as amendments to Ordinances XI & XII, the provisions give the VC overarching powers to take disciplinary action against teachers for any perceived failure to comply with the UGC’s Code of Professional Ethics. The extremely subjective clauses are open to biased interpretation.
- Deterioration of academic conditions in SOL with students being short charged, the number of teachers dwindling and not even minimal contact teaching being provided. With Prof. C S Dubey as Director, teachers have been denied any role in academic planning and students money is being squandered.
- Hindu College: The unlawful termination of two teachers and unjustified penalties imposed on seven teachers must be withdrawn.
- University department teachers: Being directly governed by the University, department teachers have faced specific forms of harassment. While the latest round of promotions brought much delayed relief, some departments were arbitrarily left out and some teachers denied promotion. Ordinances were interpreted to violate Headship by rotation. Arbitrary decisions on Special Casual Leave, Duty Leave, Project Overheads and house allotments etc. have added to their woes and disturbed the academic environment.
- Rigging of appointments under the current VC: He has usurped the powers of the EC to scrutinise selections in departments and ensured a majority of members on selection committees through his nominees. Those who supported his misgovernance have been rewarded through appointments in departments or as Principals. There is a widespread impression that extra-academic factors ranging from caste and other loyalties to monetary considerations may have influenced many of these appointments. An enquiry is needed into the legalities in selection procedure, choice of experts and how points were calculated and claimed.
- The new PhD Ordinance: Ord VI-B, adopted in the EC on 20.7.2015, imposes additional criteria for college teachers to become supervisors that are not mandated by the 2009 UGC Regulations and do away with the parity between college and department teachers in the earlier Ordinance.
- Rollback of FYUP
- Show cause notice to VC based on DUTA white paper
- Stagnation increment of 1.1.2006
- Suspension of Ambedkar College Principal G.K. Arora on Pavitra Bhardwaj suicide case
- Removal of KM College Principal S.P. Gupta on charges of corruption
- Stopping raids by Flying squad consisting of questionable characters
- UGC notification of 18.11.2014 clarifying applicability of regulation in force on date of eligibility
- UGC clarification of 4.8.2015 for placement of Readers appointed before 30.6.2010 in PB4 after three years
- DACP for UCMS / VPCI with modifications
- Stalling NSIT takeover at level of LG
- Parliamentary Standing Committee on SC/ST took cognisance of DUTA representation on roster; invited DUTA for meeting in DU despite opposition by VC
- UGC forced to admit that CBCS requires more teachers and infrastructure
- Restoration of revaluation of students
- Stopping appointment of controller of examinations in dubious manner
- Rejoining of large number of ad hoc teachers; protection of summer salary
- Revival of FEDCUTA after four years of paralysis. Formation of CCTAD; action programmes including a National Convention at Jamia. Revived coordination with AIFUCTO and FEDCUTA on common issues.
Tireless struggle on teachers’ grievances
The DUTA has tirelessly worked to highlight teachers’ grievances and demands. It has submitted representations to the VC, the UGC, the MHRD, the Visitor in regard to non-filling of posts, manipulation of the Reservation roster, denial of promotions, withholding of pensions, victimisation of teachers, the PhD/NET issue, and the pernicious API. It has held many action programmes to bring pressure at every level for their resolution. It has met MPs of several political parties to seek their help. Most importantly, it has reasserted the will and determination to pursue these issues and uphold the dignity of teachers even in the face of unprecedented hostile conditions.
Polling on 27 August (Thursday), 10 am to 5 pm, Arts Faculty
Dept. of Mathematics, St. Stephen’s College
as DUTA President
Dept. of Hindi,
Dept. of History,
Dept. of Germanic & Romance Studies,
Dept. of History,