Save Teachers, Save Education
सार्वजनिक शिक्षा के बचाव में
Elect Deo Kumar to the EC
The Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) seeks your support in the forthcoming elections to the Executive council and the Academic council. At a time when teachers of Delhi University are being subjected to distressing uncertainties, your vote ought to be an expression of opposition to the ongoing assault on teachers and education and a resolve to stall and roll it back.
After a long time, appointments have started in the Departments and Colleges. It came with the hope that our adhoc colleagues who have been serving the university despite all odds of uncertainty of tenure would be absorbed. The DUTA’s call for absorption had to be realised in this round of appointments as the rolling out of the NEP-2020 with the academic and administrative restructuring will inevitably lead to further uncertainty of permanent jobs.
Massive Displacement of Ad-hoc Teachers
It is extremely unfortunate that many of our serving colleagues have been unfairly and arbitrarily rejected and displaced during the ongoing recruitment for permanent positions. Around 80% of serving teachers have suffered this pain in colleges such as Laxmi Bai, HRC and Ramjas. Displacement has also taken place in SVC, DRC, DCAC, DBC, SGTB Khalsa, KMC, etc. to varying degrees. Despite availability of candidates, posts are declared NFS, that too only in reserved categories. This reveals the retrograde mind-set of the administration.
In all this, principals with their known allegiance, including a former teacher representative elected from the NDTF panel, have played deplorable leading roles. The present NDTF-led DUTA’s silence, despite the promise of “absorption through interviews”, is ominous. What we see is a justification/ rationalisation of a massacre by proffering deliberately misleading claims that displacement as a percentage of total recruitment across Departments and colleges is negligible!! It is caught in its own rhetoric so much so that Staff Associations that have stood up against the displacement have been sought to be silenced. This unforgivable and complicit collaboration should not be allowed, and teachers must send a firm message through these elections and force the leadership to act.
Draconian Workload Norms and Shift to Guestism
The silence and demobilisation of the Union has emboldened the administration so much that directions, verbal and otherwise, have been issued to (a) not appoint full time teachers but guest teachers against newly arising full time vacancies, b) insist on a mindless increase in the size of lecture classes, tutorials and practicals (on the basis of recommendations of a committee headed by Prof. Sri Prakash (yet another elected teacher representative from the NDTF panel), and (c) specify a maximum limit on proportion of tutorial hours in teachers’ workload. Increased workload on teachers, whether on account of an increase in students-teacher ratio or teaching/evaluating greater number of papers, is dissatisfying, demotivating and negatively affects students and the quality of education.
The direction to only appoint guest teachers in colleges against new vacancies has ensured that those displaced through permanent recruitment are unable to get even an ad-hoc position. Today, guestism stares us in the face, and seems to be the future of universities with the NEP too pushing for unlimited choice to students without any increase in teaching hands or infrastructure.
Academic Restructuring and NEP
The academic restructuring as per NEP 2020 involving multiple entry-exit FYUP, Academic Bank of Credits, promoting online learning as a substitute for physical mode, choices offered to students in a manner that institutionalises demand based contractual appointment teachers threaten the future working conditions of teachers and intimately related students’ learning conditions.
The University is playing with the academic future of over 70,000 students as only the first semester syllabi were in place when admissions started in October. The IA and Examination rules are not yet announced. These statutory violations deny students the right to decide judiciously. Teachers and colleges were never so ill-informed and ill-prepared. VAC and SEC classes could not start in most colleges for a month or more. The idea of Cluster colleges is ill-conceived and is a veritable nightmare for making timetables. What will happen next year when the second year will be in place?
Though the NEP was notified in August 2020, the University could not decide on the credit framework and kept changing the model – from 184 to 196 to 176 credits. The idea of providing four meaningful certifications from one structure is an unrealistic and unacademic. Reduced number of credits has led to severe dilution of content and depth, especially of the major discipline. The large number of VAC and SEC courses has fragmented students’ time without any real value addition. The haste in which syllabi have been made has led to problems of sequencing as content creation has been done in an undemocratic manner without allowing for wide-spread consultation or discussion.
The UGCF peddles flexibility and choice to students, but this can be so varied and disparate that it could render the degree meaningless. Academic rationale for progression of papers in disciplines has been given the go-by in the name of “student-choice”. MEES ostensibly gives students the freedom to exit after any given year and to re-join. Is this “freedom” authentic and how will it impact students from socially deprived sections, women, and those differently abled who will be the likely “dropouts”?
English departments across colleges are adversely impacted by the reduction in workload as English is not offered as an AECC, denying students meaningful choice as well. SECs which are to be offered only by a few departments is another serious limitation as this course would not help students to benefit by strengthening the major discipline.
There has been no discussion on how the structure for the PG courses are to be. Would students be equipped to do a PhD after this academically impoverished FYUP which does not include any PG content? Would departments be able to cope with teaching of 2-year MA as well as 1-year MA with no additional infrastructure or faculty? There are no answers!!!
It is extremely worrying that the UGC has notified yet another version of FYUP recently, in the month of December, with directions to universities to implement it. This structure further dilutes the degrees by reducing the total credit requirement and the content and depth of the Major discipline. Students will not get an Honours degree in three years. What are the implications for DU? Will we be forced to make another shift next year?
CUET: A Disaster
As part of the implementation of NEP, the University decided to introduce CUET for admissions at the UG level without any discussion on its desirability and in spite of fears that it would lead to a mushrooming of coaching centres, putting a large section of students at a disadvantage. The reality is that in many colleges, skewed gender ratio and regional diversity has been reported. A large number of vacant seats are reported across colleges and the University is scrambling to do a round of spot admissions nearly two months after the start of classes. The PG admissions have been inordinately delayed. The priority for the University should have been to bring the academic schedule on track to give some respite to teachers who have been working continuously without any breaks or vacations for the last 3 years.
Expansion without Funding!
The Vice-Chancellor appears to have very little connect with the ground reality and has unilaterally announced that colleges will work from 8 am to 8 pm!!! What will happen to the evening colleges?
That the Government as well as its Vice-chancellors, zealously proving their pro-Government credentials, is not concerned about quality (which is impossible without conducive teaching conditions) is already demonstrated in the manner in which expansion in student intake on account of EWS reservation has been effected. No additional teacher and funds for required infrastructure has been granted. The DU administration has pursued this expansion in the intake by 20% while admitting students to FYUP. The DUTA leadership and compliant elected teacher representatives have failed to seriously express dissent, let alone undertake appropriate action.
Delhi University, unfortunately, has been the laboratory for such ill-conceived reforms. However, the teachers had resisted such mindless imposition under the banner of the DUTA through struggles in the interest of students and academic excellence. The DTF-led DUTA had played its role as an important stakeholder in policy making. Several Parliamentary Standing Committees on the Education Bills (2011-2013) invited the DUTA’s opinion.
Today the NDTF-led DUTA is betraying teachers and students alike. The elected teachers’ representatives from the NDTF have been voting in favour of these changes. This betrayal, however, is not surprising given that they have been actively campaigning for the implementation of NEP.
Situation in the Delhi Government Colleges
The situation of the 12 Delhi Government Colleges has worsened while the DUTA remains a mute spectator. The AAP Government, while tom-tomming its “commitment” to education, has been hand-in-glove with the Union Government in pushing for privatization as well as many provisions of the NEP. That is why they have been financially strangling these institutions, not caring for the impact it has on the daily lives of teachers who have to wait for months on end for their rightful dues. The hypocrisy of the Delhi Government and that of the AADTA must be exposed. The NDTF too has been trying to gain political mileage from the situation without caring about resolving the issue. The University administration is equally responsible.
Administrative Restructuring in the Offing!
It will be foolhardy to ignore the impending administrative /regulatory restructuring following NEP 2020. Only those obligated to smooth passage of NEP would have teachers believe that national policies should not concern them.
Reports in the media suggest that the HECI bill to replace the existing Acts relating to the UGC and the universities is to be placed in the winter session of the Parliament. The existing regulatory structures of higher education are to be replaced by a new “light but tight” structure that, among other things, hands over each college/ university to a BOG which will have full/ unbridled powers over courses and teachers. This will undoubtedly lead to further contractualization of jobs and differential salary structures. Courses that are not market-friendly will be eased out leading to rampant commercialization of institutions and education.
Old Pension Scheme
The demand for the restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) is just and is being taken up in earnest by unions across the country. This demand can be realised only by a pan-India movement. However, it is clear that the NDTF-led DUTA is not only uninterested in pursuing and realising demands that would make it stand in opposition to its masters but is actively sabotaging all the all-India forums that had been strengthened and revitalized by the DTF during its tenure. The DUTA led by Nandita Narain could roll back the irrational and draconian PBAS-API only by forging alliances across the country. Similarly, the reinstatement of the 200-point reservation roster was possible once again during Rajib Ray’s tenure through pan-India mobilisation which pushed the Government back on its decision in 2018. Today, the FEDCUTA stands demobilised as the DUTA President as the President of the All India body has systematically demobilised these bodies through his silence and inaction.
The report of the Anomaly Committee is yet to be announced despite tall claims by the NDTF during the last DUTA elections. Past service should be counted for all stages of promotion. Promotion to Professorship should be extended to all Associate Professors. Promotion to Associate Professorship without a PhD should be restored. Publications should include all kinds of work including books, chapters in books and translation work.
Counting of OC and RC in a non-uniform manner across colleges has led to anomalies in many places. These must be redressed immediately, and teachers must not have to face loss of years in terms of promotions and salaries.
There has been an abject surrender by the NDTF-led DUTA on the issue of forcible redesignation of Associate Professors in Physical Education to Directors of Physical Education, leading to their being retired at the age of 62 instead of 65. The hard-won gains of the DUTA in 1991 whereby all DPE’s in Colleges of DU were recognised as Lecturers in Physical Education, and consequential amendments incorporated in Ordinances XVIII and XXIV, have been frittered away. Not only have several of our colleagues been forcibly retired at 62, but the University administration has illegally notified recovery from those who retired at 65. In the absence of any credible resistance by the DUTA, colleagues have been forced to seek legal protection, both in defence of their status as Associate Professors and against the illegal recovery. In several colleges, Department of Physical Education has been removed from teaching roster.
The Selection Procedure to include a written test for Librarians and DPEs has been arbitrarily introduced by the University in divergence from the UGC Regulations 2018.
The glaring shortage of teachers and infrastructure in SOL must be addressed urgently.
The DU notification of 4.1.2022 on Maternity Leave to ad-hoc and contract employees is ambiguous. Teachers will benefit only when clear instructions are issues. The University should also grant paternity leave without delay.
Delay in release of pension and of salaries of ad-hoc teachers in many colleges needs to be resolved.
The DTF-led DUTA in 2021 had pursued the promotion of instructors with two upgradations through CAS with the UGC and asked it to instruct the University to make guidelines for the 3rd promotion. However, this has not been followed up and no relief has come.
Denial of allowances for support to visually impaired colleagues when on leave. This is not only unjust but also prevents them from being able to carry out their academic work.
E-tendering for multitasking staff, lab attendants and clerical staff is unacceptable. The University should move towards permanent recruitment to bring stability to its systems.
Regularisation of Computer Science courses and other courses running in self-financing mode must be done immediately.
Illegal recoveries in violation of the 2014 SC Judgment must stop. Such recoveries are also in violation of provision in DOPT letter of 2016.
In many Colleges, seats sanctioned under OBC Expansion were utilised for creating new departments with the tacit approval/ sanction of the UGC and the University. Recently, some UGC circular has laid down a limitation that posts sanctioned for OBC Expansion can only be used for Departments that existed then. Teachers cannot be made to bear the brunt of this flip-flop. No displacement should be allowed on this count.
The Way Forward!
The only way to fight back the ongoing and impending vandalization of the University and to resolve all the pending issues before teachers requires articulate critique and bringing public attention to it through campaigns and protest actions on the streets. In the current scenario, the DTF, has called out the instances of displacement of teachers so as to deter the perpetrators and those who seek approval from the teaching community while being in cahoots with the same perpetrators. The elected teachers’ representatives must be made to realise that they are elected to represent teachers. The DUTA and the elected representatives in the EC and the AC are required to show their commitment to rebuff the assault we face.
The need of the hour is, therefore, to send a clear signal to the decision makers and those willing to compromise our very existence that teachers will not accept the current situation of surrender and attendant massacre .
For the Academic Council, the DTF has fielded the following four candidates:
Biswajit Mohanty, Mithuraaj Dhusiya, Monami Sinha, Vikas Gupta
Deo Kumar | B. No. 3
to the Executive Council
Biswajit Mohanty | B. No. 1
Mithuraaj Dhusiya | B. No. 8
Monami Sinha | B. No. 12