DU: Displacement of Ad hoc Faculty is an Unprecedented Assault on Academics, say Teachers Organisations
The outrage against the ongoing displacements in teacher recruitment at Delhi University spilt in the residential lawns of Hindu College Professor Ratan Lal, where Democratic United Teachers Alliance (DUTA) held its press conference on Friday and highlighted that the university is witnessing an unprecedented assault on academics.
The context of press conference was latest displacement of the ad hoc teachers in IP College (five out of five in Sociology, six out of eight in English, two out of four in Hindi and five out of six in Geography), Ramjas College (four out of eight in Commerce, five out of eight in Botany and six out of eight in English), Motilal Nehru College, where the interviews were held in the University Guest House against all norms.
Nandita Narayan, former Delhi University Teachers Association President, said that the teaching community in the university has literally seen an academic massacre where talented teachers with decades of experience were shown the door through sham interviews to accommodate the people affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
"Our ad hoc teachers did their jobs with honesty and dedication. It was not their fault if their employment status remained temporary. Interviews for permanent positions did not happen for years even when forms for same were released many times."
She added that the interviews have been given 100% weightage for appointments, disregarding any teaching experience, publication of books and articles and academic performance indicators.
"The institutional murder of Samarveer exemplified the apathy and humiliation faced by our teachers. Samarveer Singh, a teacher in the Philosophy department of the Hindu College for six years, died by suicide in February this year. The relatives of the teacher had alleged that he was disturbed by his ouster from the college."
"There is a visible pattern in the displacements. The first category of teachers are those who have criticised the BJP government on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. Second, there is consensus over not recruiting minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians. We will release the data to establish this soon."
She added," Apart from a penchant for RSS cadres, the relatives of the leaders of BJP have been given preference too. This morning, we heard the news of displacements from the Geography department at Indraprastha College, and it is well known that she is the wife of a leading figure in the National Democratic Teachers Front. Before this, the teachers in the Sociology department of Indraprastha College were treated similarly."
Laxman Yadav, a well-known social figure who has been campaigning for the rights of the disadvantaged communities and the latest victim of displacements, said that he was not surprised that the interview board was unanimous in not appointing him over critique of the BJP government.
"There are few things that need clarity from the college and university administration. I was appointed in 2010 on an ad hoc basis and was in anticipation of being given a permanent job. Ad-hoc teachers were hired on a four-month contract, and mine was renewed at least 44 times. It is a testimony that I was teaching up to the expectations of my students and my senior colleagues. Secondly, I have 96 out of 100 marks in Academic Performance Indicators (API) and was the candidate with the highest in my panel. Yet, I was removed. If they had appointed a more experienced and qualified person, I would have no issues, but it is unacceptable that the merit has been killed by introducing mediocrity."
He added, "I had several options to teach in private universities, but I chose to stay in Delhi University because the public universities like Delhi University and Allahabad University made us. They were hoping for thousands of first-generation learners like me who would not have learned in casteist education models."
Echoing similar concerns, Dr Shubda Chaudhary, a displaced teacher from the Department of Mass Communication Indraprastha College, said she received her higher education in seven countries and had top API marks. Yet she had to go because she chose to stand for justice for female students.
"The Indraprastha College faced mass intrusion of drunk men, and eve teasing was complained by hundreds of girl students. I was on the internal complaints committee, and there was consistent pressure from the principal's office to water down the intensity of the incident. Since several girl victims were my students, I decided that I would prepare the report. The students were unhappy with the administration, which took no interest in delivering justice. Before I could submit the report, the interviews were called, and I was ousted."
She added, "I went to London to pursue Higher Education and had the option to settle there. Yet I came back with the intent to teach my students to the best of my capabilities so that they could be at an early stage, which I learned quite later. However, the current situation has forced me to leave the country."
N Sachin, Associate Professor of English at Dyal Singh College Delhi University, said their estimates suggest that at least 40% of teachers have been displaced.
"We have instances of two fine teachers, Shubda Chaudhary and Laxman Yadav, speaking their minds. However, it is not about a few names. We have a poisonous assault on the public education system, and let me highlight categorically that Muslim teachers in departments were hounded and ousted. Interestingly, they would appoint only one teacher as a cover to shield the assault. We have colleagues from the Academic Council who would testify that Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh did not reveal the complete that displacements are way higher than his estimate of 10.
Aishwarya, a BA (Sociology) student, told media persons that the issue has also affected students who lost teachers who supported them in their academics and personal lives.
"It's not a matter of livelihood alone. What message would a student like me get who has dreams of entering academics through research?"
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