The results of the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) elections for 2017-2019, held on 31st August are as follows:
Rajib Ray (DTF) – 2636 votes
V.S. Negi (NDTF) – 2375 votes
Surender Singh Rana (AAD) – 1930 votes
Sunil Babu – 48 votes
The DTF won 3 out of 4 seats for Executive Council. This left oriented teachers union has been winning consecutively for the past three terms, this year being its fourth term in a row. This can be termed as a historic win for the front, as no other organisation yet has won for four terms successively.
“The DTF represents the collective strength of the teachers of the University.” said the newly elected DUTA President Rajib Ray.
Fifty years since its inception as a collective and representative body, the DUTA is fighting its most decisive battles against a policy framework that openly seeks to hand over publicly-owned universities, colleges and educational resources to private hands. Ad hoc teachers are anxiously waiting to be regularised through permanent appointments under the order of the High Court. A whole batch of teachers, who had been appointed after 2000, have been denied promotions. Teachers who have served the university for 35-40 years have been forced to retire without pensions. And though the long overdue Pay Revision is yet to materialise, it is quite evident that the Government will restrict the effective to a mere 14.2% and slash the allowances.
The education Policy is currently being dictated by the NITI Aayog, and its CEO recently said that the government should “hand over schools, colleges, jails to the private sector”. And it's Draft Action Plan is being pushed through various UGC Regulations (2.6.2017).
“The way things are now in the country, it is important, from the view of a union, to fight against the anti-educational policies. The education budget has been reduced drastically. At a time like this, we need a union which will continue to voice the concerns of the teachers and stand against the government policies of commercialization, without getting bogged down these people.” said Abha Dev Habib, DTF General Secretary
During the campaigning, the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), which is backed by the BJP, has not commented on the faulty academic policies of the current government. The strategic way the government universities are being destroyed was not criticised upon by NDTF.
“A large section of teachers saw that if the union was not with the DTF, there would be no opposition to this kind of attacks in the University. To preserve the academic environment, to have the freedom to debate and discuss, and resist the kind of onslaught the teachers and students are facing today, this win was important,” said Habib.
In the last fifty years, the DUTA has been at the helm of struggles that has benefitted teachers across the nation and held back the government's drive towards privatisation. With the Government pursuing privatisation more aggressively than ever before, these struggles have become far more difficult. Protracted adhocism, frequent changes in course structures through diktats from the UGC/MHRD and the DU administration, ever more administrative and clerical work, the resort to authoritarian and ‘divide and rule’ measures, and sometimes even violence, to break unions and quell resistance and questioning – both within and outside the University – have created an environment that is hostile to the mass struggles.
The DUTA under the leadership of DTF has been fighting for these issues and have gained some success with regard to teacher issues. As a result, the teachers have been placing their trust on DTF, despite the fact that the NDTF, the BJP government, the RSS, the officials in the university and some principles have made every effort to influence the voters.
“By rejecting NDTF, the teachers of DU have sent a strong signal to the BJP govt that they are opposed to the policies that they are implementing in higher education. The verdict is a rejection of the government policies and faith in DTF’s leadership,” said Bhupinder Chaudhry, DUTA Treasurer.