DU: ‘Displacement of Ad-hoc Teachers Decimating Hopes for Social Justice, Learning Process’
New Delhi: Various Delhi University teachers organisations on Monday expressed ‘shock’ over the alleged displacement of several ad-hoc teachers who were serving for decades in Satyawati College (Evening).
Addressing a press conference at the Press Club of India, the teachers said that there were reports of en-masse displacement in the department of Hindi in Satyawati College (Evening), which had “shocked the academic community.”
Nandita Narain, former president, Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) said that a selection committee meeting was held from September I to 5 and then from September 12 to 16, but the results have not yet been announced on the college website.
“The fact that results have not been displayed on the website (as is the current norm) compels us to believe in the reports that close to 70-80% serving teachers have been displaced, including those serving for as long as 20 years,” she said.
Narain said any injustice of this kind, on the basis of 4–6-minute interviews, “totally disregards the contribution and continuous work of a serving teacher”, and was “completely unacceptable”.
The former DUTA president said the reported displacement of teachers was not only “an attack on the livelihood of thousands of teachers but also shows callous disregard of the university administration toward their contribution to these institutions with their tireless work.”
Adding that such decisions have “deleterious academic consequences,” Narain said, “The tragic incident wherein Samarveer Singh, a young talented teacher, was forced to take his life after being thrown out of his job in the Department of Philosophy, Hindu College, highlights the pain of many young teachers who have unjustly lost their jobs. This unfair loss has happened at a time when these teachers were hoping for what is arguably a well-deserved permanent job after years of serving in ad-hoc and temporary positions.”
Aditya Narain Mishra, presidential candidate of Democratic United Teachers Alliance, a collective of 10 organisations and several individual teachers formed ahead of DUTA elections to take on A L Bhagi, the RSS-backed NDTF candidate, said, “It is unfortunate that trained teachers are often being replaced by those who do not have a day’s teaching experience. Students in several colleges have protested against the displacement of their teachers. These displacements will adversely impact the teaching-learning environment in colleges. It is surely unfortunate that even students’ concerns are not being taken seriously,” he said.
Mishra said that in many places there were serious allegations of politically motivated nepotism and an unfair interview process that often borders on the farcical. “Candidates have been humiliated during the interview process, mocked and have been asked questions which have no relevance to their academic discipline,” he alleged.
Citing an example, Mishra said “in an interview for English, candidates were asked the meaning of a Sanskrit shloka! Department professors have been side-lined and the opinion of teachers-in-charge is being ignored. The same set of experts is being sent repeatedly to various selection committees, and ‘lists’ of candidates to be selected is circulated beforehand, raising questions about the fairness and credibility of the entire process,” he said adding that in drawing the lists of experts and VC nominees, professors, including heads of departments, have been largely excluded.
To add to the difficulties of those ‘displaced’, ad-hoc appointments are not being made against regular vacancies, ostensibly on the basis of verbal instructions by the University, Mishra alleged. He said this was “totally unacceptable”.
While the attempt of an institution should be to recruit teachers on permanent basis against vacancies, ad-hoc appointments should be allowed against leave vacancies, retirements or vacancies which are against variable workload, he added.
“In effect, we are looking at a scenario where guest appointments against full-time posts have become the norm,” Mishra said.
He said while full-time teachers remain available to students and contribute to the college through their work on committees and student societies, guest faculty are paid for a fixed number of lectures and are not necessarily available to students outside the classroom because of the nature of their appointment.
Shashi Shekhar Singh, associate professor, Satyawati College, told reporters that the appointment of officer on special duty without prior notice had raised suspicion among teachers about ensuing displacement.
“The governing body of Satyawati College generally informs the agenda in advance to the president and secretary of the staff association. However, no information was provided about the emergency meeting on where the name of was cleared for the post,” he said.
Singh said the rules specify that the governing body should send three names for the post to the Vice-Chancellor and he should clear one name for the post. “This did not take place,” he said.
Terming as “shameful”, Singh said that a meeting was organised in the auditorium of the college where these teachers were displaced and a Member of Parliament like Manoj Tiwari was called to sing songs. “Was he singing about the academic demise of these teachers”? he said.
Abha Dev Habib, former Executive Council member, Delhi University, said that the developments were “shocking” and had “decimated the hope of social justice among those first-generation teachers from marginalised communities that they would be getting permanent jobs after years of dedicated research and teaching. These teachers did hard work and inspired a generation of students to pursue academics as a career. What would happen to these dreams.”
She said the displacements should also worry common parents. “We are already seeing that campuses are privatised in the form of massive fee hikes. The Campus Law Centre has a course which costs Rs. 1.90 lakh per annum. Even after paying this much fee, they are not getting quality teachers, then it is certainly a travesty,” she added.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.