New Delhi: Delhi University (DU) teachers on Monday condemned the Centre for its “wrong representation of facts,” in the recently concluded Monsoon session of Parliament regarding ad-hoc postings in the central university, accusing of thereby “misleading” the country.
In a press conference held by the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) on Monday, set of data collected by the teachers’ body was shared, while countering the one shared by the Narendra Modi – led Central government.
The online conference also saw the reiteration of the long pending demand of DU teachers regarding one-time regulation for the absorption of the temporary teachers.
In reply to a question over teachers working on ad-hoc basis in central universities across the country, Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan earlier last month had shared in the Lok Sabha the numbers of such postings in various varsities.
According to the data, there are a total 74 ad-hoc teachers working across 45 central universities as on April this year. Out of these the majority – 58 – are in Delhi University.
On Monday, DUTA said that the numbers were “shameful” and represent a picture that is “far from reality.” “It is a well-known fact that around 4500 teachers are currently working on ad-hoc basis in Delhi University, with the numbers increasing every day as no recruitments have taken place for more than ten years now and many teachers have superannuated in the interim period,” said the teachers’ body in a press statement.
Abha Dev Habib, treasurer, DUTA, explained how the Centre “misled” the nation. “It is unfortunate that the constituent colleges of the DU were not considered while calculating the number of ad-hoc postings in the Central university,” she said while addressing the press conference.
The DU is a Collegiate University with over 60 constituent colleges that offer among others the undergraduate courses in sciences, humanities and social sciences – that are much sought among the school pass outs in the country. According to Habib, while these colleges were not considered, only the ad-hoc postings in the departments of the central varsity were calculated and presented in Parliament.
“DU, unlike other central universities that have a unitary system of functioning, has got an administration with federal character,” she said.
Rajib Ray, president, DUTA. called the Centre’s data a “wrong representation of facts.”
Further, the data shared by the Centre indicated that the number of ad-hoc teachers was decreasing over the years – from 551 in 2019 and 208 last year – across the country. It showed a similar trend being followed in DU. The prominent central varsity in 2019 had 102 such temporary postings which were brought down to 76 last year.
Countering the Centre’s data, DUTA shared a set of figures which showed that about 40% of DU’s total faculty strength – that is over 10,000 – was urrently being held by ad-hoc teachers. Among them, more than half are women, while close to 60% hold a professional doctoral degree.
The data points at the “pain and anguish” of temporary teachers who despite being highly qualified, have to face a “great sense of uncertainty” in their professional lives, said Aditya Narayan Misra, former president, DUTA.
“These teachers have no freedom of expression… also women teachers are the worst affected as there is no provision of any maternity leave and other benefits,” Misra said.
This has been the main grievance that DUTA has tried to bring to the fore, through demonstrations and work strikes, over the years to demand one-time absorption of all the ad-hoc teachers in the university. Newsclick has reported how, unlike permanent teachers, ad-hoc teaching staff is bereft of almost all of the social security benefits.
Nandita Narain of Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), who has also presided DUTA in the past, said the founding fathers of the nation had teachers and their service conditions at the centre while drafting an education policy for the nation.
“However, in recent decades, it is being neglected and further challenged by the neo-liberal assaults,” she said, adding that despite that it is the ad-hoc teaching force that has kept the quality of education in DU intact.
Moreover, in July, Education Minister Pradhan while sharing the figures on ad-hoc teachers also claimed that there is “no proposal” under consideration in University Grants Commission (UGC) to absorb the ad-hoc teachers as permanent teacher, on which DUTA expressed “shock”.
The teachers also flayed the Centre for pushing the National Education Policy (NEP) – 2020 and blended mode of learning in the Universities under the shadow of COVID-19. “The kind of restructuring envisaged by the Government for Higher Education implies withdrawal of funding and reliance on loans rather than grants. This will directly entail higher student fees and fewer job opportunities, especially in those subjects that are not marketable,” the DUTA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, DUTA said it would be striking work for two days from tomorrow –August 17 and 18 – against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – led Delhi government. The latter has been receiving the teachers’ flak for worsening the prevailing crisis in the 12 state government-funded DU colleges.
Among other issues, the teachers’ body has been pressing for many months now for an assurance of no further delay in disbursal of teachers’ salaries in these colleges.