DTF fields a committed and strong panel of candidates with Abha Dev Habib as its candidate for the post of the DUTA President.
The DUTA elections 2021 are taking place amidst the rolling out of the sinister National Education Policy 2021 (NEP). On 31.8.2021, the University of Delhi adopted that, apart from core papers, students can earn credits from any other university under the ABC Scheme. This is a direct attack on the quality of education and workload of teachers. The Government is looking at ways of increasing GER without increasing public spending. For Delhi University, where teachers are hired on workload basis, this is yet another attack on teaching jobs.
The EC also adopted the FYUP with multiple exit and entry – a repeat of the 2013 fiasco. The proposed structure of 4-year UG course + 1 year PG stands way too diluted as compared to the current 3 +2 scheme as the extra year is being wasted. Multiple exit and entry point will see high attrition rate of students with disadvantageous background and fluctuating workload, which will further institutionalise contractual jobs.
Other forms of academic restructuring which are on the anvil are (i) the Swayam Regulation stipulating every student’s right to earn 40% of credit requirements from online MOOCs platforms and (2) the adoption of blended mode (combination of online and offline) in place of offline mode within each academic programme on the basis of dubious claims made on behalf of international businesses that the blended mode is better.
The restructuring of all levels of education and all aspects of education is a coherent and coordinated assault on public education and the inevitably associated changes in the role and status of teachers. For teachers of Delhi University, the achievements of our collective struggles as well as our yet-to-be-met demand of Absorption of temporary and ad hoc teachers on the basis of correct reservation roster are under threat as the new educational structure designed for the market and private greed is being put in place.
The academic structure is compatible with the principle of shaping academic institutions as business units, where the management — Board of Governors (BoG) — has unfettered powers over courses to offer, number of teachers to hire, the terms and conditions of their employment, continuation, pay, annual pay increase and any further promotion. This principle is the centrepiece of the regulatory framework, governance structure and funding mechanism enunciated in the NEP. These are to be put in place through legislation soon and will override all the Parliament Acts such as the Delhi University Act, UGC Act, etc.
The very principles of market determination and privatisation of education undermine quality of and equal access to education. The courses which get offered and which get dropped are to be market determined. They also change the conditions of employment of teachers, and the way teachers, placed under the mercy of nominated Governors, participate in academic decision making. Academic freedom, central to the idea of a university, is going to be a clear casualty. So is the case with collective bodies of teachers, Associations / Unions, which are a deterrent to this business model of education.
NEP’s vision of autonomous colleges and non-affiliating universities is an attack on DU’s structure and will lead to its fragmentation.
Teachers of Delhi University are already victims of the funding arrangements implied in the NEP. The Delhi Government, which has been prompt in welcoming the NEP, has cynically defended its non-funding / under-funding of colleges and insisted that colleges to meet salaries and other requirements out of students’ funds and other institutional funds first.
Stoppage of grants to the 12 DU Colleges that are 100% funded by Delhi Government is an arm-twisting tactics to take these colleges away from DU – something which NEP will allow. The DUTA will have to continue to fight this attack of the Delhi Government and fight for the DU take over of these colleges, with 100% funding by Central Government.
For the last 10 years, the DTF has provided leadership to the teachers’ movement in the DUTA and country. It has been successful in building joint student-teacher movements in defence of service conditions of teachers and public universities. Struggle against unacademic mindless API system finally resulted in the UGC Regulation 2018 which brought relief in terms of promotions. While CAS 2018 ensured promotions of a large number of teachers, the DUTA will have to continue to work for sections of teachers whose promotions are pending owing to anomalies in Promotion scheme.
A continuous collective movement helped the DUTA to build Absorption as a just demand before the Government, protected teaching jobs against workload slash in 2016 and displacement of teacher due to anti-reservation Department-wise Roster notified by the UGC on 5 March 2018. The DUTA in 2019 led a historic movement to safeguard services of over 4,000 ad-hoc teachers, when adhoc positions were about to be converted into guest. The historic struggle led to the 5 December 2019 Record of Discussion which prevented displacement of over 400 teachers because of the implementation of the EWS Reservation 2019 and also ensured that ad-hoc teachers will not be displaced. Through the pandemic the DTF led DUTA ensured continuation of ad-hoc teachers despite staggered workload.
As we come out of the pandemic, the prime task of the DUTA is to fight for Absorption with all its might and defend teaching jobs in the face of the policy onslaught. With the experience of recruitments held in the past few years, teachers have no faith in the Selection Process. With 100% weightage to selection committees under the UGC Regulations 2018, the DTF sees that Absorption is the only solution for saving those who have honestly delivered and strive to be part of the system through merit.
The DUTA needs to continue to defend suitable pay and promotion provisions along with the crying need to defend accessible quality of education for the youth of our country. Our demands complement the requirements of quality public education and are strengthened by our commitment as teachers for such education.
The DUTA is the strongest teachers’ association in the country and plays a central role in leading the teachers’ movement of the country. The task of the DUTA Elections will be to save DUTA as a body which will continue to work for the teachers’ and in defence of DU and public funded higher education.
The DTF stands committed to providing a responsible, and steadfast leadership that can bring together teachers, students and citizens. For this, it seeks your support for Abha Dev Habib (Dept of Physics, Miranda House), current DUTA Treasurer and former DU EC member, who has been the face of innumerable struggles since the semester agitation – an activist who stood up fearlessly and steadfastly in the face of repression.
The DTF is also fielding the following panel of candidates for the DUTA Executive:
- Jitendra Kumar Meena, Dept of History, Shyam Lal College, sitting member of the DUTA Executive.
- V S Dixit, Dept of Computer Science, ARSD College, Former Member, Academic Council, sitting members of the DUTA Executive
- Rudrashish Chakraborty, Dept. of English, Kirori Mal College, former AC member and former DUTA Executive member, and
- Nandita Narain, Dept of Mathematics, St. Stephens’ College, who has led many a DUTA struggle as President of DUTA and FEDCUTA and as DU EC member.
The DUTA has to be retained as a space of opposition to policy onslaught. We appeal to teachers to vote for DTF panel and defend DUTA against its sarkari take over.
Nandita Narain, President
Abha Dev Habib, Secretary