The miseries surrounding ad hoc positions of teachers at Delhi University (DU) had resurfaced as colleges were scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, July 1, with concerns over the term renewal and vacation’s salaries of the temporary teaching staff. However, the matter has been shifted to a future date as the summer vacations have now been extended till July 31.
In a notification dated July 1, the university administration further revised the academic calender in line with the Centre’s guidelines on phase two of the reopening of activities following the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown.
In the wake of rising virus infected cases in the country, colleges and educational institutions were not permitted to reopen for one more month in the directions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on June 29.
As a result, the ad hoc teachers who were pressured to mark their presence on the first working day of the academic session to protect their salary payments for the vacation period will now have to wait further – with uncertainties over renewal of their appointment still looming large.
Under existing DU rules, as Laxman Yadav, an assistant professor in Delhi’s Zakir Hussain College explained, “An ad-hoc teacher is required to mark his/her presence on the last working day of the previous academic calender and the first working day of the next – and not doing so impacts the vacation salaries which is only paid after the joining of an ad-hoc appointee on the first working day after the vacation.”
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Such a requirement is not mandated for the permanent teaching staff in the university, added Yadav, an ad-hoc teacher himself. Last working day at DU was June 12 this year.
The aforementioned is a “routine” matter, Yadav informed, however, amid the difficult times of a virus outbreak this year, while some colleges clarified over the joining of ad-hoc teachers, others chose not to – fuelling confusion among the 4,500 ad-hoc university’s teaching staff.
“Circulars were issued by some colleges which had included a word or direction for the ad-hoc teachers; other colleges chose not to issue any notice at all,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has also written to the principals and deans of the 60-odd DU colleges drawing their attention over the issues pertaining to the ad-hoc teachers.
“Any measure taken by the University/colleges owing to the pandemic (like delayed teaching session or staggered teaching sessions) should not adversely affect the services or livelihood of teachers,” said DUTA’s letter dated June 29.
Alok Ranjan Pandey, DUTA’s Vice President, blamed the university administration for not issuing proper guidelines with regards to the joining of teachers. This resulted in the DU colleges taking decisions at their own level, which usually involves some “arbitrariness” in the process, according to him.
“Even a pandemic couldn’t change the attitude of the university administration towards its ad-hoc teaching staff – who make up around two-fifths of DU faculty,” Pandey added.
Demanding an one-time ordinance for absorption of the ad-hoc staff, DU teachers had gone on strike last year in December, which lasted for almost 120 days.
Currently, ad hoc teachers are appointed in the university for a period of 120 days. Their contracts are renewed after expiring and the process goes on until a permanent teacher is appointed. Owing to prevailing precariousness, the ad-hoc teachers face discrimination – often in forms of increased workload – and find themselves ineligible for several social benefits.
“In the month of August, if the university opens, there is a 70% chance that the terms of all the ad-hoc teachers will be renewed; however, some doubt still persists keeping in mind our past experiences,” Pandey told NewsClick.