The Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) has decided to field its former treasurer and seasoned activist Rudrashish Chakraborty, Asst. Professor of English at Kirori Mal College and an elected member of the Academic Council for the last two terms, as its candidate for the elections to the Executive Council of Delhi University. Rudrashish Chakraborty has also been an elected DUTA Executive member for two terms (2007-09 & 2009-11). He has played a crucial role in formulating and drafting the DUTA and FEDCUTA memorandum on the Seventh Pay Revision for teachers submitted to the UGC Pay Review Committee.
For the elections to the Academic Council, the DTF is fielding four experienced candidates. Two of them, V. S. Dixit (Computer Science, ARSD College) and Jyoti Sabharwal (Dept. of Germanic & Romance Studies, Arts Faculty) are sitting AC members who will be contesting for a second term. The other two, Deo Kumar (Hindi, Rajdhani College) and Saikat Ghosh (English, SGTB Khalsa College) are former DUTA Executive members.
The elections are being held against the backdrop of negotiations on issues related to permanent teaching appointments and promotions. Both issues are related to the University’s uncertain future as a public-funded institution of national importance.
Over half of the total faculty across colleges and departments is forced to carry on teaching on ad hoc and temporary basis. This adhocism is extremely exploitative of the concerned teachers and has been detrimental to the academic growth of the University and its colleges. Moreover, the process of recruitment has, so far, been deliberately opaque and tardy, with mass-displacement of teachers, violations of the DoPT Guidelines in implementing the Reservation Roster, and allegations of manipulation and bias in selection committees. The ‘start-stop’ model of few and selective appointments have cost a whole generation of teachers who have been forced to languish without job security and career progression. These teachers hope for a prompt start to permanent recruitment, but want a fair, objective and transparent process of selection.
There have been no promotions in the colleges and many University departments for years as a result of a malafide and deeply unjust decision taken by the DU Administration under the previous VC to retrospectively implement the API-based Promotion Scheme from 2008, even though the scheme was only notified by the UGC/GoI in 2010 and adopted by Delhi University in 2013. While the DUTA and FEDCUTA are leading the ongoing struggle of teachers across India to get the API-based Scheme withdrawn, promotions have been denied to thousands of DU teachers by using this draconian decision.
The election to the Executive and the Academic Council will also be held in the context of the Seventh Pay Revision for teachers. The UGC Pay Review Committee was supposed to submit its report was 9 Dec 2016 but it seems the committee has sought an extension. Since a new pay revision entails changes not only in pay structure but also service conditions, including promotional avenues, it is crucial that teachers elect representatives who are committed to defend the collective interests of teachers in an inclusive, comprehensive and non-compromising manner.
While the Court has granted relief to retired and retiring teachers after a protracted legal battle, the disbursement of pensions and other retirement dues needs to start urgently.
The Government’s drive towards privatisation of higher education has imposed ill conceived academic restructuring and deteriorating service conditions through arbitrary policies of the UGC/MHRD and the DU Administration. This has had a disastrous impact on teachers’ service and working conditions and the ability of the University to fulfill its social responsibilities. The DTF is committed to the struggle in defence of public education and to ensure justice and restoration of hope for every section of the teaching community.