Fight for better service conditions!
Elect Rudrashish Chakraborty to the EC
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As 2016 drew to a close, in the name of a “war against black money and terrorism” the Govt unleashed a war on the people of this country. The real motive of a cashless India robbed millions of people of the cash they need for daily survival. Whom did the Govt benefit with its “surgical strike”? Big business, particularly in the finance sector, through charges levied for every cashless transaction.
For several decades now, Higher Education has been the target of a similar shift from a public good to a sphere for swelling the profits of big business. We have seen this assault become ever more aggressive, with public funded universities being systematically destroyed. The draft National Education Policy (2016) and the provisions of the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) openly advocate the use of public funds to support private universities and colleges. The Policy envisages drastic cost-cutting through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and digital modules that threaten to push the teacher to the margins of the system. The NAAC is being used to pressurise institutions towards self-financing courses, link funding with rating and push for autonomous colleges.
Over the past few years, DU was made a prime target of this offensive. Teachers witnessed a heightened assault on academic structures and processes, undermining of statutory processes of consultation, debate and collective decision making, reign of arbitrariness, vengeance, terror and favouritism that best describes the regime of Prof. Dinesh Singh. For speaking out against its destructive actions and refusing support, the entire teaching community faced vindictive actions on appointments, promotions and pension.
The DTF was at the forefront of a protracted struggle against this assault on teachers and education while major teacher groups – particularly the AAD and a section of the NDTF – unashamedly aligned with the administration, betrayed the trust reposed in elected representatives and were vociferous against the DUTA while supporting the blatantly wrong, unjust and repressive conduct of the administration.
After the DUTA’s bitter struggle against the previous VC and his destructive regime, the new DU administration sought to present itself as different and willing to reestablish dialogue. The DTF utilised this hitherto closed window through the DUTA and the elected AC & EC members to apprise the new VC of the immense harm imposed on teachers and the need for urgent redressal. Few issues have been addressed and concrete action on most pressing issues has been lacking. Most unacceptable has been the failure to honour the commitment given to the DUTA to include elected teacher representatives in the committee set up on appointments and promotions at the end of the protracted struggle last summer. This committee was finally expanded only after the AC meeting of 29.11.2016 to consider changes proposed to Ordinances following the 4th Amendment. In this meeting elected members unitedly demanded that the proposed changes be revisited by an expanded committee with elected representatives.
The 4th Amendment to the UGC Regulations 2010 was notified on 11.7.2016 in response to the DUTA’s massive struggle against the draconian workload provisions of the 3rd Amendment (4.5.2016) and for the rollback of API. It defined direct teaching for the first time to include tutorials, practical, project supervision and field work and withdrew student feedback for promotion. But it retained API with some changed provisions: it removed capping but laid down unrealistic scores for direct teaching hours.
Since the recruitment process was not starting, the DUTA organised mass action programmes to demand an end to adhocism and the regularisation of long-serving adhoc and temporary teachers including those displaced earlier and based on the correct roster.
The Delhi High Court’s recent order to immediately fill up 4100 teaching vacancies in DU, marks a momentous point in the struggle against adhocism, repeatedly highlighted by the DUTA over the last 8 years. The judgment reflected the growing concern about such forms of teacher recruitment by expediting two old petitions against repeated interviews filed by ad hoc teachers of the Law Faculty in 2001 and 2005. On 1.12.2016, the Court appointed a three member committee of the MHRD Secretary, the DU VC and the Additional Solicitor General to frame a fair and reasonable policy. This committee in the presence of DoPT and UGC representatives proposed a timeline (January – July 2017) for recruitment in accordance with the UGC Regulations. On 23.12.2016, the High Court ordered filling up of the posts accordingly.
It is in this context that AC & EC meetings were convened on an emergent basis. For reasons best known to them, the AAD and NDTF joined together on a single point demand “to absorb the existing 4000 adhoc teachers without interviews”. Slogans were raised against the DUTA President and for rejecting the 4th Amendment, ignoring that this would block recruitment and promotion given that no Central University can flout the Regulations. The AAD and NDTF even voted against the resolution moved by the DTF to count teaching experience in the 50:30:20 breakup of selection criteria in the 4th Amendment.
Subsequently, in the meetings of the expanded committee and and AC & EC, the DTF and others moved written amendments for counting teaching experience and for a transparent system of allocating the 50 marks for Academic Record and Research Performance which would be subject wise flexible and reduce the excessive weightage given to research degrees and publications (as was proposed to the AC on 8.12.2016). The AC on 19.12.2016 agreed to involve departments and faculties to draw up the details. However, in the EC meeting on 31.12.2016, A.K.Bhagi of NDTF wanted unspecified flexibility to remain with the Selection Committee and the administration accepted this; Abha Dev Habib gave her dissent. The AC also accepted the resolution moved by us that Selection Committee experts would only be drawn from the list approved by the AC and the principle of rotation of experts followed.
Correction of Roster
The DUTA’s stand that the DU roster is in violation of GoI Reservation Policy was vindicated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee report. Consequently, the VC set up a Monitoring Committee under Prof R K Kale. DUTA wrote to both the VC and Prof Kale on 29.12.2016 about the urgency to correct the roster by 10.1.2017, the date stipulated by the High Court. At a DU workshop for Liaison Officers on 31.12.2016, Officials tried to justify the existing DU roster. The workshop was inconclusive as several Liaison Officers pointed out the basic flaws:
(i) Actual backlog is ignored if not determined from the dates of implementation of the post-based reservation roster for SC/ST (2.7.1997) and OBC (21.3.2007) respectively. The DU roster does not include teachers who have retired / resigned or left since 1997 but only those in service as on 3.9.2013.
(ii) Shortfall is frozen against specific posts which will be filled only after they are vacated by the current incumbent, thereby inordinately delaying the filling up of shortfall.
(iii) Arranging departments alphabetically is discriminatory, since the density of reserved positions in the roster is not uniform: some departments get excessive reservation whereas others hardly have any. Adding of vacant posts immediately after filled posts in each department leads to changes in roster with variable workload.
The DUTA has demanded that DU correct its Roster in consonance with DoPT Guidelines before advertising the posts.
Retrospective implementation of API
Though the DUTA had decided to facilitate legal recourse, it was necessary to pursue the matter with the new administration before going to court. Representations were submit-ted to the University, UGC and MHRD, and to the Pay Review Committee to highlight the gravity of the situation.
In the meetings of the expanded committee and the AC, DTF members forced a detailed discussion on retrospective application of API from 31.12.2008 which has led to denial of promotion to around 2500 teachers. A detailed note was submitted which also highlights the appointment of the ARSD Principal in 2013 under the UGC Regulation 2000. The note has been referred to the expanded committee.
4th Amendment vs 2nd Amendment
In the AC, DTF along with CTF, SSM, UTF and AAD-Rathi moved several amendments to maximise relief for teachers:
- Direct teaching hours to include preparation time equal to teaching hours.
- Proportional calculation of points in Categories I & II for those availing leave like Study Leave, Maternity / Adoption / Child Care Leave, Medical Leave, etc.
- Examination duties to include internal assessment in Category I.
- Delinking of Refresher and Orientation Courses from the date of eligibility. Restoration of weightage for Refresher and Orientation Courses in Category II.
- Inclusion of edited journals and edited books in publications for calculation of points in Category III.
- In regard to the date of notification of UGC listed journals and unequal distribution of marks in publications bet-ween first and other authors, it was decided to send all observations to the UGC for clarification.
2, 3, 4 & 5 were accepted.
Counting of Past Service
Counting of past service at every stage of promotion has been denied since 2010. In the AC meeting of 19.12.2016, DTF members raised the issue, armed with documents including the Supreme Court judgement (29.1.2002), UGC Regulations 1998, the University Calendar 2004, the JNU EC resolution on CAS 2010, and argued for this provision since most teachers have long years of service before becoming permanent. The VC agreed to have the documents examined by Senior University Counsel P. P. Rao.
Withdrawal of API
The DUTA and FEDCUTA have placed strong arguments for the removal of the API before the VII Pay Review Committee and mobilized country wide opinion against this system of denying promotions. They have submitted an alternative proposal to CAS 2010 based on MPS-1998. The struggle for withdrawal of API will continue as both the FEDCUTA as well as the AIFUCTO are committed to this issue.
The High Court judgment of 24.8.2016 gave relief to all categories of teachers and non-teaching employees, dismissing the vindictive appeal by the previous DU administration as its submissions “have no force” and its appeals “deserve to fail”. The DUTA took up the matter of urgent implementation with the VC and all College Principals. Following this, the DU administration wrote on 14.10.2016 to all Colleges for data on financial estimates. The DUTA Pension Committee made a format for easy collection of data and urged all colleges to send the files of retired teachers to the University. DU has cleared the cases of some teachers whose pension it had held up. But the bulk of retired employees have received no relief so far, prompting some teachers to file a contempt petition. The delay was raised by elected members at the EC meeting on 31.12.2016, after which the University agreed to hold a special EC meeting to expedite the matter.
Seventh Pay Revision
The memorandum prepared by the DUTA subcommittee was also adopted by FEDCUTA. This was submitted by the FEDCUTA delegation, led by Nandita Narain, to the UGC Pay Review Committee on 21.9.2016 along with a detailed presentation on the anomalies of the last pay revision, pay structure, promotion scheme, counting of past service, academic and other allowances, medical facilities, leave rules etc. Based on the principle of parity with All India Services through-out the entire career profile, not merely at the entry level (accepted during the V and VI Pay Revisions in 1997 and 2008 but not implemented), the memorandum argues for the following:
- Resolution of anomalies of the last Pay Revision including minimum pay in PB 3 for pre-revised AGP 7000 and stepping up.
- A separate Pay Matrix for teachers different from the Central Govt and higher at every level.
- Higher Minimum Pay at every level and a Higher Fitment Factor for all incumbent teachers for pay fixation.
- Entry Pay at pre-revised AGP 7000, i.e. one level higher, to compensate higher qualifications and late entry.
- Time bound and assured promotions for all teachers up to Professorship/Professor’s Grade.
- Scrapping of API; formulation of a new, enabling promotion scheme for all teachers.
- Placement of all incumbent teachers with 3 years experience as Associate Professor at the appropriate stage of the Professor’s level.
- Promotion of all incumbent Professors with 6 years experience to Senior Professors.
- Parity of Librarians with teachers in terms of qualification, recruitment, promotion and age of retirement.
- Parity of Instructors, Programmers and other Academic staff with teachers.
CBCS and Second Tranche
Under successive governments, restructuring of higher education to further commercialise and open it up to domestic and foreign business resulted in hurried semesterisation, FYUP and then CBCS. Now, even the detailed structure and content are determined by the UGC.
Providing choice to students in CBCS requires many more teachers. The second tranche of teaching posts, originally sanctioned due to 54% expansion of intake following OBC reservations, has not been released, nor have new posts been sanctioned as per the 14/16 hours workload norm and the CBCS structure. This has meant denial of even minimal choice to students under CBCS, larger group size for tutorials and practicals, allocation of more than 14/16 hours or leaving classes unmet, showing the Govt’s complete disregard for quality in public funded universities.
The most ugly and unfortunate expression of this callous disregard found expression in MH which terminated 13 ad hoc teachers in the middle of the semester since it had exceeded the total UGC sanctioned posts (including the unreleased second tranche) in order to meet the workload requirement of CBCS.
Crisis in Governance
- For the first time, even the appointment of teacher representatives on GBs was held up for several months pending “approval” by the University though this was a routine matter in the past. As a result, teachers were unrepresented in GBs for months in violation of Ordinance XVIII.
- The new GB of Deshbandhu College included Umesh Sharma, whose removal the DUTA Executive had unanimously demanded for his dubious role in Deshbandhu and RLA. OSDs, illegally continued for years “until further orders”, are still in office. In RLA, Dr Saibaba’s suspension was continued on unjustified grounds.
- In Bharti College, University approval is still pending for issuing appointment letters to candidates selected through due process in Commerce and History.
- In Hindu College, two teachers had appealed to the Chancellor for enquiries on their unjustified and illegal termination. The enquiry in one case found the termination unjustified and directed the College to reinstate him. This has vindicated the DUTA’s long battle on the matter. The report in regard to the second teacher is awaited. The DTF also demands withdrawal of the vindictive measures against 7 teachers for writing to the LG about irregularities, and removal of the GB Chairman S.N.P. Punj.
- The DTF demands independent inquiries into allega-tions against the Principals of CVS, Ramjas and the Chairman of SOL.
Fight for better service conditions
- Physical Education Teachers: The previous DU administration did its utmost to revert the status of teachers of Physical Education to DPEs. This is still not rectified to our satisfaction. In some colleges such as IHE, the PE dept has been removed from the teaching roster. The DTF warns the administration against tampering with teachers’ service conditions.
- Librarians clubbed with Non-teaching Staff: In the EC meeting of 17.8.2013 the University Non-teaching Employees Rules 2013 were adopted, incorrectly listing Deputy Librarian, Assistant Librarian and College Librarian as non-teaching cadres in the Annexure. After repeated protests by Abha Dev Habib, the administration has agreed to bring the matter to the next EC.
- Stepping up is not being implemented by the UGC/DU despite the Bombay HC order, upheld by the Supreme Court.
- Medical facilities: A scheme of full reimbursement at CGHS rates. Authorized Medical Attendant (AMA) facility for all including retired employees, ad-hoc teachers and non-teaching contractual staff. Revival of cashless hospitalisation.
- Creche facilites in the South Campus
- UCMS: Intervention by the DTF on implementation of DACP led to a positive resolution. The decision of the previous VC to allow handover of UCMS to the Delhi Govt. must be undone.
- Teachers’ Welfare Fund: The processing of applications, held up for four years, has still not started.
Facilities for differently-abled: appropriate infrastruc-ture, study materials, assistance for evaluating answer scripts and assignments.
- Maternity/ Adoption Leave for adhoc teachers
- Denial of leave: Questions are raised about who would do the teaching and other work if leave is sanctioned. Shortage of permanent staff has aggravated the problem.
- Housing facilities must be expanded and allocation of houses expedited. Many houses are lying vacant while teachers are forced to wait.
- Denial of space to students and teachers to organise discussions and meetings through arbitrary and bureau-cratic procedures and high charges negates the very idea of what a university should be.
Take the struggle forward to defend public education
The BJP-led Government has made clear that it is bent on accelerating the “reforms” pursued by its predecessor in all fields, including in education. Divisive forces are being encouraged to disrupt the common struggles against these assaults. Scientific values are being replaced by obscurantist views and prejudices. The Constitution is being jettisoned, the lives and livelihood of people cynically disregarded.
We must be vigilant against such forces. We must intensify our struggle in defence of public-funded education and for better service conditions for teachers. Our determined unity in struggle with students and karamcharis is our best defence.
The DTF panel is committed to this struggle. Rudrashish Chakraborty, twice elected AC member and twice DUTA Executive member, has played a lead role in drafting the DUTA memorandum to the UGC Pay Review Committee. V.S. Dixit and Jyoti Sabharwal are sitting members, contesting for a second term. Deo Kumar and Saikat Ghosh have been DUTA Executive members. We appeal to teachers to give the entire panel a resounding victory.
Polling on 9 February (Thursday), 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
Elect to the AC
and to the EC
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